RSU #18 Funding Formula Committee

RSU #18 Funding Formula Committee

RSU #18 Funding Formula Committee

Belgrade Town Office

Meeting Notes


6:30 P.M.

Present: Carl Gartley, Asst. Superintendent; Ernie Rice, Lani Carlson, Howard Holinger, Penny Morrell, Dan Digirolamo, Chris Rhoda, Becky Seel, and MacGregor Stocco.

Absent: Dana Doran.

Howard gave background to dispel a couple of things and explain why the committee came to be. This committee has no authoritative power to make any binding decisions within RSU #18. It is a fact-finding group. Initial concern grew out discussing with people while campaigning for the position of selectman, culminating with the process of the school budget. Belgrade still said “no” after the second proposal. Saying “no” to the school budget isn’t a solution. There is no concrete reason why the budget should be voted down other than a few pet peeves. Funding seemed unfair, lopsided concerning percentage of students vs. costs by Belgrade. Belgrade is paying a higher cost per student than most of the other towns. Rome is slightly higher. The select board was not happy with the budget. Questions were raised. We have to do something to break this cycle of a “no” vote on the budget.

It was considered inappropriate by the asst. supt. to discuss further because figures presented were inaccurate, so Ernie asked that we proceed with the meeting.

Penny nominated Howard as chair. Ernie seconded. Motion failed.

MacGregor nominated Lani, Dan seconded. Motion carried 5 in favor, 1 opposed. 2 abstaining.

Lani questioned membership, specifically missing two teachers from Belgrade. Carl spoke to Gwen Bacon, BCS Principal, and all teachers approached declined as thinking it inappropriate to participate. Only one from the budget committee volunteered, Howard, and he’s not aware of anyone else interested. The number of parents with and without students in the system has increased because anyone who wants to serve is approved by the select board. Many hands make light work was the rationale for that decision.

Penny requested by-monthly meetings making a motion, which was seconded by Ernie. Motion carried with one opposition. We have the option to change as the holidays get here. Penny made a motion to meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays as available at the town office, Ernie seconded, MacGregor suggested 7:00 p.m. Motion carried.

Dan asked for a member e-mail list and Lani will confirm it with Mary and send out e-mail reminders every Monday prior to the meetings.

Chris asked for more information from Howard, Carl and others for background as to the purpose of the committee.

Howard explained that because there is so much information floating around, incorrectly perceived. He wants to get back to the real facts, state funding, RSU funding, and knowledge with the entire process. There has never been an interest nor proposal cutting back or reducing education of our children in Belgrade. Howard has been accused of that which is in error. The reason for proposing the committee was to have more people doing fact finding to get the information. Howard was elated to learn Carl would participate and be intimately involved. Working with people knowing what’s going on is productive. There has been angst caused by the fact of busing in China. We need to be able to compare numbers, for instance, what it costs to run Belgrade Central School.

Carl was prior principal in China, is the newly asst. supt., and also elated to be a part of this process. Data was not factual that voters looked at. Carl was opposed to this committee, wrote to the select board, and wanted the facts out without having a committee. However, he expressed enjoyment being here doing this work of going through some of this data, breaking it down, because it’s important to see how it’s produced.

Dan asked if there is direction where the information is available to wraparound and get educated, a place to go get it publicly.

Becky Seel will e-mail it to everybody.

The process began with assigning each bullet from the select board to a member of the committee for investigation and to report back findings at the next meeting. For the purposes of this committee, each bullet was given a number.

Bullet #1: List advantages for Belgrade to be in RSU #18

Mac recommended that the district figure out how to present the information in a much more pleasant manner. 30,000 lines is a joke! Make it user-friendly, why does it have to be all crazy. His wife has been at school board meetings for years, tried to figure it out, but it’s really confusing. He argued that’s the main reason this committee exists.

Howard went to the webpage, and was told that stuff is all wrong!

Lani said we must identify sources as we get information in case of challenges or questions arise.

Carl said by law we have to present the budget a certain way broken up into cost centers that are district wide. That’s not what anybody wants.

Ernie is saying Belgrade will not tuition other towns; want to stay in RSU #18. Howard’s thought is sky is the limit in options. The point of the committee is fact finding, so let’s do it.

18 bullets tasked with no deletions so we prioritized tasks. Rome numbers are included in Belgrade Central School costs. Howard is working on #18 and will continue. Carl has a consolidation plan in his office we may feel free to look at. The EPS funding formula seems to be the kicker. How does the state regulation impact us?

Conclusion of Bullet #1 – Advantages is subjective – skip for now.

Bullet #2: List advantages for Belgrade to be their own system

Conclusion of Bullet #2 - skip now too. It will be part of our conclusions.

Bullet #3: Current RSU 18 budget for BCS

The breakdown is by cost center which includes Rome students, so we need to go by head count. Carl will check with Bobby, the business manager, to see if that’s possible in two weeks, breakdowns of Belgrade’s portion of BCS. We will get the all-in number and then breakdown. If it takes six weeks to get the breakdowns, that’s ok. We will also need district costs like central office allocated to BCS. That’s a cost center.

Bullet #4: Building ownership

Bullet #5: Transportation options/issues

Bullets #4 – 5 - We need to look at building ownership, what’s involved in that process? It used to belong to Belgrade, now RSU #18, what happens if we want to run our own school? Carl has been through the withdrawal process. This committee wouldn’t comply with the procedures. That’s a withdrawal committee which is a whole another level.

Lani wants to be sure building ownership and transportation costs are in there.

Carl comes from Erskine background.

After discussion, transportation costs might be postponed as difficult to separate.

Carl will get figures from Bobby and then at the next meeting breakdown further.

Bullet #6: Can RSU 18 be required to take Belgrade students, if not part of RSU, for 6-12 grades

Carl advised that’s part of the negotiations in the withdrawal process. So Bullet #6 is answered.

Bullet #8: State process, including legal questions about separation

Becky Seel will get insights from a friend and report back at the next meeting.

Bullet #7: Would other systems – Augusta, Maranacook, etc., be open to tuition students

It is too early to seek this information. The committee tabled bullet #7.

Bullet #9: Special Ed requirements/solutions

Carl will talk to Cheryl and Bobby

Bullet #10: What would administration look like in a Belgrade School Department


Bullet #11: Can total school choice be rolled into a Belgrade school system


Bullet #12: What are the state requirements for evaluation of a preK-5 school

Not applicable

Bullet #13: Are there state guidelines for establishing tuition contract costs

It depends on the process of withdrawing from an RSU. Bullet #13 is done. The state average tuition is set. Conclusion #2 will cover this more.

Bullet #14: Can Belgrade participate in RSU 18 as a non-member, tuition based participant

This question has already been answered.

Bullet #15: Possible contract arrangements for tuition students in RSU 18

To be discussed later on.

Bullet #16: Does Rome have an interest in joining with Belgrade

This has been decided already, Rome is included in BCS costs.

Bullet #17: What is the Belgrade population projection

Carl will get it; it’s provided at the budget meetings every year.

Bullet #18: How do other towns in the state, with large lakefront properties, set up education cost sharing formulas

Howard is working on this. The focus is on the EPS formula. He will work with Gary Hilliard, our state representative.

Agenda for next meeting:

Carl will report per student cost and BCS costs and student population.

Howard will report back on Bullet #18 findings.

Withdrawal information report will come from Becky Seel.

Lani will report to Mary our meeting dates. Then Penny will send out minutes.

Howard requested we keep our meetings to two hours.

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Penny Morrell, Acting Recorder