The town of Madawaska will be holding another public meeting early next week to once again try to approve a school budget for the upcoming school year. As it stands right now, school and town officials can’t agree on where cuts to a proposed budget should be made… Shawn Cunningham reports.
Ginette Albert Madawaska Superintendent says “They feel that they wanna tell us where we should cut they’re not happy, they don’t mind the 79 thousand cut just they wanna be able to dictate where its coming from.”
Madawaska Superintendent Ginnette (jeanneatte) Albert (Al-BURT) is talking about the Madawaska Municipal Budget Committee. She says they want to micromanage every school budget brought before them including the last two drafts for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. Albert says in the past week, the Madawaska school committee was able to make revisions and cut from the budget allowing no tax dollars to be increased, but still she says the municipal budget committee wasn’t satisfied.
Albert adds “what I heard from the taxpayers is don’t raise our taxes we’ve met that commitment we were asked that commitment from the beginning and we’ve met it not that we’ve met that commitment the budget committee feels we were cutting in the wrong area.”
True says Budget Committee Chairman Paul Cyr. He says its never been about CUTS but in ensuring measures that will improve education. Even if that means tax dollars.
“We’ve seen this go on year after year and they’ve made suggestion after suggestion and cajoled and encouraged the school committee to really take a firm hard look at the budget rather than just filling in the numbers year after year and having the same issues come up,” says Cyr.
The budget committee is sending out a public letter to the community on the school budget issue itemizing the areas where revisions to the budget could be made. Albert says the budget committee wants to target teachers and education administrators’ salaries. Cyr doesn’t deny that.
Albert responds “the budget committee feels that we should open the teachers’ contract and go after wages and go after insurance.”
Cyr adds “we have not seen any comparable sacrifices on the terms of our school employees I’ll make a couple of concrete suggestions right now administrators should take a voluntary pay cut and they should pay 50 percent of their health insurance.”
A public meeting will be held next Tuesday July 15th at 7PM to once again discuss the matter. Albert says if a decision still isn’t made the public will vote to take the proposed budget to a referendum this fall. Until a new budget IS approved, the school district will operate on last year’s school budget numbers.