By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - SAD 46 directors unanimously adopted a 2003-04 budget Wednesday that increases spending by $127,152, compared with the current year.The action Wednesday came after several weeks of lengthy budget meetings.
"The administrators and board of directors worked hard to develop a budget that only reflects a 1.55 percent increase, and I think that it shows the commitment the district has to its citizens, especially in this time of rising health costs and economic uncertainty," Superintendent Les Butler said outside the meeting.
A public hearing on the $8,327,140 budget and a $150,411 adult education budget, also approved unanimously Wednesday, will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, in the Dexter High School cafeteria.
A referendum on the budget will be conducted on June 10 in SAD 46 towns Dexter, Garland, Exeter and Ripley.
If the budget is approved by residents, the assessments of Dexter and Garland will decrease by $56,798 and $9,083, respectively. Exeter's assessment will increase by $13,279, and Ripley's will increase by $2,603.
The proposed budget includes elimination of two middle school positions based on declining enrollment. Butler said one fifth-grade and one seventh-grade position would be eliminated under the present plan and the staff in those positions realigned.
Butler said the budget includes the addition of a part-time employee at the Dexter Primary School to help address the social and behavioral needs of pupils and to work on curriculum.
It also includes $28,000 for the development of an alternative education program for middle school pupils. This program next year will target eight to 10 pupils who do not work well within traditional classroom settings.
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