Vassalboro school board members got an introduction to some small pieces of the 2024-25 school budget at their Feb. 13 meeting. There will be more budget discussion at future meetings.
The Feb. 13 agenda included presentations from:
— Finance director Paula Pooler on three accounts, a $500 one that will remain the same next year as this year and two that are slated to be reduced by around $8,000, total, in 2024-25;
— Transportation director Ashley Pooler, whose presentation sparked a discussion of whether to apply to the state for a new school bus for next year (the preliminary answer is yes); and
— Technology director Will Backman, who explained a proposed $8,000 increase in the technology budget.
Another minor budget issue that generated discussion was school board members’ compensation. They currently receive $40 per meeting, a figure Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer said (and, from the audience, select board member Michael Poulin agreed) is less than other area school or select board members get.
Board members want to think about whether to propose an increase, so a decision was postponed.
Future meetings will deal with larger budget figures. This year’s Vassalboro school budget, as approved by voters at the 2023 town meeting, totals a little over $9 million.
Paula Pooler said spending remains on track, and the lunch program, which ran a deficit for some years, is holding its own. Pfeiffer said there are planned kitchen upgrades at Vassalboro Community School, now that the lunch program can support them.
After another discussion of the day care program Jennifer Lizotte operates at VCS, board members agreed to consider extending the lease for more than a year at a time, so Lizotte can make long-range plans with confidence. The topic will be on the agenda for the March school board meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.