School budget winding down for FY ‘15-’16

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro school officials, like town officials, are winding up the 2015-16 fiscal year and preparing for 2016-17, a process AOS (Alternative Organizational Structure) #92 Facilities Director Shelley Phillips described to the school board as “like two worlds colliding.”

Phillips’ tasks for Vassalboro Community School, she reported at the June 21 school board meeting, include getting the new equipment shed built, the diesel fuel tank repaired (a job that requires state permits) and roof repairs planned.

Finance Director Paula Pooler said the year is ending about as anticipated.  With more bills, but no big ones, expected before the fiscal year ends June 30, she said the books ought to balance without dipping into the $78,000 allocated from the undesignated fund balance.  However, she does not expect a surplus at the end of the year to add to the balance.

The undesignated balance now stands at more than $198,000, Pooler said, with $132,000 allocated for the 2016-17 budget if necessary.  She commented that the figure is small, considering the total budget voters approved at the Vassalboro town meeting is almost $7.4 million.

Assistant Superintendent Peter Thiboutot reported on the new teacher evaluation plan that had just won preliminary state approval, conditional on school board endorsement.  The system has been three years in development, he said; it is based on the Marzano model, which he called “a leading teacher effectiveness training model.”

The school board unanimously approved.  New board member Elizabeth Mitchell commended the plan as based on stakeholder involvement, rather than dictated from the top down.

On Superintendent Eric Haley’s and Principal Dianna Gram’s recommendations, board members approved hiring three new teachers: Crystal Uleau for second grade, Traci Norwood for fifth grade and Jill Ouellette (who did her student teaching in Vassalboro, Gram said) for seventh and eighth grade social studies.

They accepted with regret the resignation of Educational Technician II Judith Whitley.      They unanimously authorized Haley to issue contracts to new staff in July and August, since the board is not scheduled to meet again until Aug. 16.   Without the authorization, Haley said, he might lose a good teacher to another school system while waiting for the board meeting.

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