Vassalboro board members get first look at proposed 2020-21 budget

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro School Board members got a first look at parts of the proposed 2020-2021 budget at their Jan. 14 meeting.

Technology Coordinator Will Backman said his preliminary budget includes an estimated $50,000 to replace the telephone system at Vassalboro Community School. Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer said the current system is 10 to 15 years old and has started breaking down – an inconvenience and potentially a safety issue.

Board members did not discuss, at this stage, whether to act, and if they do whether to buy or lease a system.

The preliminary transportation budget has a 20 percent increase over the current year, according to figures shared at the meeting. Transportation Coordinator Lisa Gadway recommends asking state approval to buy two new buses, to stay on schedule and, she hopes, save money on maintenance. There is also a bookkeeping correction that would move $35,000 to the transportation account from the special education account, she said.

REMINDER: School board survey deadline approaching

Friday, Jan. 24, is the last day to respond to the Vassalboro School Board’s survey seeking Vassalboro residents’ opinions as part of the development of a five-year strategic plan. The survey is on the school website,

Gadway said Vassalboro, like most of the rest of the state, has a shortage of bus drivers; there are no substitutes available. She suggested other school personnel, including teachers, be encouraged to qualify as bus drivers.

School officials have barely started budget work; the two accounts they saw Jan. 14 add up to less than three-quarters of a million dollars. The 2019-2020 voter-approved school budget totals more than $7.5 million.

In other business, board members heard a report on plans to join with town officials in seeking solar power in town; reviewed proposed updated policies; and appointed Heather Bassett an educational technician.

The next regular Vassalboro School Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Feb. 11.


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