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School Budget Approved  

A small cohort of voters approved a $61 million school budget Tuesday by an 80-20 percent margin, according to Sue H. Cote, City Clerk and Registrar of Voters. The turnout of 488 voters represented just 3 percent of the registered voters in the city, according to Ms. Cote.

The spending plan is 2.3% more than the current budget, which equates to a 34-cent increase on the mil rate from $14.80 to $15.14 (as of 5/16/23) per thousand dollars of valuation, according to the school department. The 2.3% increase means that taxes on a home valued at $250,000 would increase by $85 a year.

Superintendent Matt Nelson said the biggest factors in the increase are contractually mandated increases in salary and benefits, increases in teacher retirement, increased staffing to address students speaking languages other than English, additional special education placements for students not qualifying for the BRIDGE program, and energy cost increases. 

School Committee 6/12/23 Meeting Summary  

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. All Committee members and Student Representatives were present.  

The minutes from the 5/31/23 executive session were approved. 

Public Comments-None 

Communications-None 

Committee Reports-None 

Superintendent’s Report 

Recognition: John-Paul Alexandre was recognized for his service as a student representative for the past two years. He participated in many committees during that time and has been a strong student and athlete. He will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida in the fall. He is interested in studying homeland security and intelligence. 

Student representative reports: 

  • Recap of graduation and related events last week
  • The 22/23 school year is wrapping up. Final exams began late last week and will finish tomorrow. The last day of school is Tuesday, 6/13/23.  
  • The Sanford High Library gave away several books to high school students to encourage continued reading over the summer 
  • The upcoming senior class has decided on children’s picture books as the homecoming theme for next year. 
  • The Sanford Spotlight newsletter was reviewed. Read it here bit.ly/3N1BfkB 

Voting: Voters were reminded of the validation vote for the school budget tomorrow, 6/13/23, at all of the regular polling places.  

School improvement: The Maine Department of Education measures key indicators of student success based on data collected annually. Areas they look at include chronic absenteeism, academic achievement in mathematics and literacy, progress in English language proficiency and graduation rates. Mr. Nelson outlined areas of success as well as those that have been identified for increased support. 

Directors’ Reports 

Assistant Superintendent Steve Bussiere 

The Maine Department of Education (MDOE) is accepting applications for a School Connections Grant from School Districts with a poverty rate above 35%. Its purpose is to design and promote safer, more inclusive and positive environments for all students, educators, and staff. 

The MDOE has awarded a First 10 School Grant. It will be a community pilot grant to the Sanford School Department and Fire Department. The goal is to build partnerships with the community to improve teaching, learning and care for the whole child. The first step is to hire a project director. 

An update on the progress of school safety during this past year was provided. 

Curriculum Director Bethany Lambert 

The composition of the freshman teams that have been set up for the fall were explained. 

Planning to implement a grant from MDOE for Building Assets and Reducing Risk (BARR) is in process. The SMARTS curriculum for executive functioning and the School Connect curriculum are being purchased.  

2023/24 School Committee meeting schedule 

A draft was presented and approved. An effort will be made to have the second meeting of the month focused on workshops devoted to dealing with topics in a more in-depth manner.  

Sanford Schools Administrators Association Contract  

Negotiations resulting in a tentative agreement for a three-year contract was reached that afternoon. The position of Director of School Counseling for the system has been added to existing administrative contracts. The agreement was approved pending acceptance by the union. 

Business Administrator Cheryl Fournier 

The plowing bidding process and awards were reviewed. They are separated into three contracts for the different schools: Project 1-SHS/SRTC; Project 2-Pride, Willard, Memorial Gym, Middle School, and Maintenance Building; Project 3-CJL, MCS and Lafayette.  

Three-year contracts were awarded to Tibbetts Farms for Project 1; L.V. Allen and Sons for Project 2 and H.A. Stone and Sons for Project 3. A plan for renting out Lafayette to cover expenses is in process. 

Mr. Nelson announced resignations, staff appointments, transfers, and nominations. He also nominated administrators for contracts, which were approved. Of note, Amanda Doyle will become the SHS Principal, replacing Matt Petermann who has been appointed to fill the vacancy of the SRTC Director.  

Calendar Announcements 

Last Day of School – 6/13/23 

School Budget Referendum – 6/13/23 

Sanford Community Adult Education Graduation – 6/14/23 

Meeting adjourned at 6:56 p.m. 

The full School Committee meeting may be viewed on Town Hall Streams here and on YouTube at  https://www.youtube.com/live/yx-t5jOLO3s  

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