It didn’t exactly come as a surprise to SAD 1 Superintendent Gehrig Johnson when the public voted against the school district buying 34 more acres of farmland last week.
“I think anytime you ask the public to tax themselves on something that doesn’t benefit them today, I think you know you’ve got a difficult vote coming,” he said.
The vote was 114 to 100 against the school district buying the land. Johnson says he doesn’t see any immediate impact on the farm — but when the land sells, that could mean some changes. His main concern right now though – is the nearly 25 million dollar budget that still has one more vote. The budget is up 780 thousand dollars or three percent from last year.
“It’s just a status quo move the district forward without any new programming…a very small repair bill,” he said.
SAD 1 received about 260 thousand dollars more state in aid this year. He says this year’s budget won’t include new programming and does eliminate two positions – which is the fewest eliminations they’ve had in the last 5 years.
“This district has reduced by 49 positions since 2008,” he said.
Johnson said for the first time in a number of years the community’s valuation has gone down…and enrollment at SAD 1 is actually increasing.
“We’re pleased to see a little change in the trend..the district has been at a slow steady decline in enrollment of about 1 and a half percent a year for about 20 years now,” he said.
The final vote for the budget will be on June 10th.