Impact of state aid reduction felt in Hancock school budget

HANCOCK — Voters will be asked at Town Meeting May 10 to approve a $4.3-million school budget that is 2.37 percent, or $98,919, over current spending.

However, residents will be asked to shoulder more of the cost in the coming year due to a $44,251 reduction in state aid to education for Hancock along with a requirement that Hancock pay more to receive that state aid.

The state determines what each town must allocate for education in order to receive state educational assistance.

Hancock also is losing $39,571 in tuition and special education revenue because the value of its property base makes it a minimum receiver community.

Superintendent Katrina Kane said part of the 15.45 percent decrease in state aid will be defrayed by using $350,000 in surplus funds.

The local share thus will increase $232,741, or 6.75 percent, she said.

The budget was approved by the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen.

“We worked hard to keep the increases in our expenditures to a minimum in order to reduce the pressure on property taxes,” Kane said.

The largest increase — 29.52 percent — was for special education, which went from $543,383 in the current year to $703,806.

Kane said the special education budget includes, among other things, funding for two additional educational technicians for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade and additional services for students at the high school level.

She said the board also decided to spend $10,000 to buy or lease instruments for students who would like to participate in the band, which is part of the fifth grade curriculum.

“The School Board felt strongly that renting instruments should not be an added cost to families,” she said.

Among other expenditures are replacing two carts of computers that Hancock Grammar School has had since 2008.

The school also will remove old carpeting in the entryway and replace it with tile.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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