The public will vote on the 2022-2023 AOS 93 district budget and interlocal agreement on Dec. 22.
AOS 93 is composed of five schools and serves Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Jefferson, Newcastle, Nobleboro, and South Bristol.
The proposed $882,229.41 budget includes a 6.6%, or $54,618.05 increase in total expenses over the prior fiscal year. The AOS 93 district committee passed the budget at its meeting on Nov. 9.
As opposed to individual school budgets, which fund the operations of individual schools, the AOS 93 district budget funds special education support, support services for students and staff, and the operations of the office of the superintendent.
Superintendent Craig Jurgensen described the central office as a “service center” for the schools of the Central Lincoln County School District.
The majority of the budget increase is due to increases in standard salaries, benefits, and miscellaneous office expenses. The budget also includes a cut in student and staff support by nearly 50% due to staffing changes.
J.W. Oliver, Bristol’s representative on the district committee, said the proposed budget is relatively modest despite the 6.6% increase at the Bristol School Board meeting on Dec. 1.
“If you go back two years, it’s actually less than the budget was two years ago,” Oliver said. “There’s nothing extravagant in there and we felt really good about what was presented.”
The member school units share the costs of the AOS central office budget based on their respective number of students on Oct. 1 of the prior fiscal year.
For the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2022, and ending on June 30, 2023, Great Salt Bay Community School District’s commitment will increase by 2.43% to $223,713.96; Bremen’s commitment will decrease by 26.66% to $13,658.58; Damariscotta’s will decrease by 6.63% to 47,678.14; and Newcastle’s will 12.31% to $57,349.50.
Bremen, Damariscotta, and Newcastle all individually pay for administrative services with school choice for students in grades 9-12, and collectively as the Great Salt Bay Community School District for administration for grades K-8.
Additionally, Bristol’s commitment will decrease by 0.67% to $156,693.09; Nobleboro’s will increase by 11.95% to $122.673.64; South Bristol’s will increase by 12.71% to $56,246.63, and Jefferson’s will decrease by 0.66% to $170,351.77.
The interlocal agreement is the document that certifies the organizational structure of the AOS, as well as its schools’ common curriculum, assessments, and instruction. An AOS is an alternative organizational structure composed of individual, municipal school units that each makes their own operational decisions.
The purpose of the AOS is to define and implement common curriculum, assessment and instruction that are all aligned with important learning standards.
The AOS budget and interlocal agreement must be approved by a majority of all the voters from AOS member school units at the AOS budget meeting, not by a majority of the voters from each member school unit.
The interlocal agreement was last updated in 2008. The proposed update to the document removes all references to Edgecomb, Southport, and Boothbay region school districts as they are no longer part of AOS 93. Additionally, the weight of each AOS 93 board member’s vote has been amended to reflect the 2020 census numbers for each town.
The vote and discussion of the budget will take place at 6 p.m., Dec. 22, at Great Salt Bay Community School, and will be live streamed and posted on the AOS 93 YouTube page.
To vote, residents must attend the meeting in person and check in with the appropriate town clerk. Masks will be required.