Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 140 Issue 40

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home : letters : letters to the editor October 6, 2015

10/30/2013 2:00:00 PM

To the Editor:

There have been arguments made that the fact that RSU 12 has a Fiscal Year 2013 deficit of just over a million dollars is good reason for Wiscasset to withdraw from RSU 12. I would like to put the RSU 12 deficit in perspective.

The million dollar deficit was caused by an over-expenditure of the budget by about $250,000 and an underfunding of anticipated revenue by about $750,000. The one million dollar deficit is about 4 percent of the total budget.

Wiscasset's "Town Report for Fiscal Year 2010" indicates on page 124 that the Wiscasset School Department had a balance of $258,320 as of 7/1/2009. This would also be its FY 2009 year-end balance. Wiscasset School Department only had a positive balance in 2009 because it did not have to pay summer salaries for its schools' staff.

The reorganization plan for the creation of RSU 12 excused each prospective member town from paying those summer salaries and instead placed that obligation on the fledgling RSU. Why? I don't know.

The total cost of the 2009 summer salary obligation was $1.3 million dollars; Wiscasset's share of the 2009 summer salaries was $730,000. If Wiscasset had had to pay its own summer salaries in the summer of 2009, the balance stated above for 7/1/2009 would have been a negative (-$471,680).

That means that Wiscasset School Department would have been in the red by at least 5.25 percent in FY 2009 if it had paid out its summer salaries budgeted for that year (assuming Wiscasset school's had a $9 million budget in 2009; I'm in the ballpark, maybe even a bit high).

The story in Palermo is similar. The Town of Palermo School Department Audit for Fiscal Year 2009 shows that their year-end balance (budget basis) was $36,868 (having received less state dollars than budgeted and over-expending the budget, and taking into account the available fund balance).

Again, they did not have to pay accrued summer wages ($78,890), even though they had budgeted for them. If Palermo had paid the summer wages, their year-end fund balance would have been in the red -$42,022, (GAAP basis) or -2.17 percent of their $1.937 million budget.

RSU 12's deficit is not much different than other school units in other years. Be patient and we will work it out together. I don't think the current RSU 12 deficit is a valid reason for withdrawing from RSU 12.

Hilary Holm

(Ed Note: Hilary Holm is the current chair of the RSU 12 Board of Directors.)

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