Music is cut, tech gains

BAR HARBOR — A proposed cut to the music program at the Conners Emerson School comes amid the lowest enrollment numbers in the school’s history.

This year the school has served 389 students, down from 414 in 2012-13 and 426 the year before that. School enrollment has been steadily slipping from above the 500 mark since the late 1990s.

With historically low numbers, school officials are planning the reduction of some faculty positions. However, new positions are also being added to the payroll.

Included in the budget for the 2014-2015 year are plans to bring a part-time technology position to full-time and to increase the time a licensed social worker is on campus.

School principal Barbara Neilly said this week that both additions are critical to serving the student body.

At any given time, she said, an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the student body is in need of social work services. That number is at a historical high for the school, and may be partly the result of lessened community service supports, Ms. Neilly said.

The printed budget seems to put the cost of the social work at an extra $22,465, but this is misleading. In previous budgets the cost was not specifically reflected. The extra cost for next year is actually projected at just over $12,000.

Also planned for next year is the change to full time for the school’s second technology teacher. This part-time position now costs $30,000 annually, including benefits and insurance. The change will bring the cost to nearly $60,000.

The funding for athletics was mistakenly put into co-curricular this year, while for 2014-2015 it has been moved back into athletics, Neilly said.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]