School district budget process begins

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BUDGET BUILDING - Residents can open up dBudget through the school district's webpage by clicking on Budget under General Information and  accessing it there or by going directly into dBudget through the link http://lists.sad17.k12.me.us/dbudget/index.php

PARIS — Mark your calendars.

The FY 2019 Oxford Hills School District budget process starts today, Dec. 14 when cost center managers begin their budget preparation. The process will conclude on June 12 when voters in all eight towns in the school district go to the polls to validate the final number.

COPY THIS — This example in dBudget, shows the Harrison Elementary School’s budget building process for copier machines.

Superintendent Rick Colpitts distributed the FY 2019 budget development schedule to the SAD 17 Board of Director’s at its Dec. 6 meeting. The schedule includes the preliminary budget hearing dates for the public in each of the eight district towns.

Colpitts cautioned that the schedule is not written in stone.

“The budget development is tightly linked to state funding and that schedule could be modified if the state delays the release of preliminary budget estimates,” Colpitts told the Advertiser Democrat.  “The district will post any changes to the schedule on its website, Facebook page and through the local papers.”

According to the schedule, the cost center budgets will be completed on “dBudget” by January 11, and then will be reviewed by the superintendent and business manager between Jan. 29 and Feb. 9.

The award-winning “dBudget,” which debuted in 1998 and was rewritten in 2007,  is used by school administrators to build each year’s budget. The site may also be accessed by the public, through the school district website. Residents can watch the budget development process on the site. Just go to: www.msad17.org/about-Oxford-Hills-School-District/budget and click “View the District Budget.”

The cost centers are areas such as guidance, elementary foreign language, facilities, curriculum, art and so forth and each center is assigned someone to develop the budget.

For example, Middle School Principal Paul Bickford is the cost manager for middle school budgets for science, health, instruction, etc.  and Athletic Director Kevin Ryan is responsible for three cost centers involving athletic costs: administrative, high school and middle school.

Following the review of the cost centers, the Budget Committee will begin its work by first meeting to elect a chairman, develop a schedule, set priorities and review the process.

The Budget Committee will then review the cost centers during March.

On April 2, the Board of Directors  will get its first look at the preliminary budget when the superintendent presents it to the board.

Public hearings set

At that point the public will get a chance to comment on the budget during preliminary budget hearings in the eight district towns during April.

Preliminary budget  hearings have been set in early April, from 6 to 7 p.m.,  for each of the eight district towns as follows:

  • Wednesday, April 4: Hebron/West Paris at the Hebron Station School;
  • Tuesday, April 10, Oxford/Otisfield at the oxford Elementary School;
  • Wednesday, April 11 Norway/Paris at the Paris Elementary School;
  • Thursday, April 12: Harrison/Waterford at the Waterford Elementary School.

The preliminary budget will then  be presented to the Oxford Hills School District staff from April 23 to 30 at each of the schools.

On May 2, the Budget Committee will finalize the budget and on May 7 the final budget will be presented to the school board for adoption.

The district budget/hearing will be held at the Oxford Hill Comprehensive High School Forum beginning art 7 p.m. If approved, the budget then must be validated during the budget validation referendum on June 12 at the polls in all eight towns.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net