RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 Superintendent Carl Gartley is satisfied with conditions in China schools and the RSU as a whole.
Gartley talked about the proposed 2019-2020 budget at the next-to-last in a series of explanatory meetings in China on April 30. Voters from the five RSU towns (Belgrade, China, Oakland, Rome and Sidney) will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at the Performing Arts Center at Messalonskee High School to vote on the budget. A budget validation referendum will be held June 11 in each town.
Twenty-two people attended the China meeting. Gartley said only half a dozen of them are not connected with town government, China schools or the RSU.
The superintendent projects an RSU budget increase of 2.86%, a little more than $1 million, to more than $38.655 million. Of that amount, $28.8 million covers salaries and benefits, according to Gartley’s figures.
Because of the formula governing how each member town pays its share of the total, Gartley said China’s assessment will go up about 5 percent. That does not mean a 5 percent tax increase, he emphasized, since the town’s tax rate also depends on how much the state contributes to education next year and how much China’s valuation changes.
When an audience member mentioned the legally required 55 percent state contribution to education, people laughed. The state has evaded the obligation ever since voters approved it by referendum in 2003.
Gartley presented charts showing that:
- Compared to 11 other area towns and RSUs, RSU #18’s per-pupil spending is fifth from the lowest, and below the state average.
- In reading, as measured by standard test scores (which Gartley pointed out are only one way to assess progress, but are easy to compare), RSU #18 students rank next to the top in the area, and at the state average. • In math, by the same measure, RSU #18 scores are third from the top and above the state average.
Gartley mentioned the social workers, nurses, special education staff and others who help RSU #18 tailor its school system to meet all students’ needs. The member schools offer large and varied extracurricular programs; all RSU students may use the “gorgeous” new athletic facility in Oakland.
- “The money is being spent where it should be, [and] our kids are getting a great education,” Gartley summarized.
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