St. John Valley

Madawaska sets dates for school budget hearing and referendum

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Madawaska Board of Selectmen set dates for the Madawaska School Department’s budget hearing and referendum at its meeting Wednesday.

 

The budget hearing is set to take place at 6:30 p.m., July 13 at the Madawaska Middle High School cafeteria. The referendum vote for the budget will take place July 27. 

The Madawaska School Committee approved the $7.8 million budget and set the July dates for the annual school budget meeting and its referendum in June, with the statement that it would not bring an increase to taxpayers. 

Director of Finance and Projects for Valley Unified Lucie Tabor, who provides administrative services to Madawaska School Department as well as SADs 27 and 33, said the team worked hard to ensure there would not be any increase on the school budget’s part for local taxpayers.

The requested amount to be raised locally is the same as it was last year — $3,764,555. Meaning that there will be no increase to the mill rate from the school department’s side. 

The new budget increased by $463,609 from $7,346,118 to $7,809,727, but the increase is offset by other departments and revenue including the increase of $189,954 in state funding. 

The budget process this year was difficult due to COVID-19, according to Tabor. Normally, the Madawaska School Department would have had the final budget ready in April to be presented to voters at the referendum, which usually took place in June. 

But COVID-19 brought halts in the budget process to make room for immediately important matters such as designing and executing a remote learning plan and ensuring that children — including those who were not students — were fed for the remainder of the school year. 

The Madawaska School Department with Valley Unified have accounted for that need in the coming budget. 

Some remaining monies, left over due to an early school closure in response to the pandemic, were used to address safety and security for employees who needed to continue to go into the school buildings. Those workers included cooks and lunch preparers. 

The remaining money was accounted for to offset the tax burden for the taxpayers for the 2020-2021 school budget, according to Tabor.

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