Last March, board members in East Maine Elementary District 63, faced with too much money going out and not enough coming in, made the kind of drastic cuts many school districts are making these days.
It cut the equivalent of 14 positions, increased class sizes, eliminated the gifted program, asked teachers to renegotiate their future salaries and reduced the staff of social workers, psychologists, reading specialists and speech language pathologists.
After the hugs and tears, the cuts took effect for this school year. As the school year draws to a close, Patch asked Dr. Scott Clay, the district superintendent, to weigh in on their effect.
Earlier: District 63 makes cuts
"On class sizes, we have a building average of 28 in the elementary schools and 30 in junior high," he said. But those are only averages, and individual classrooms range from the low 20s to 32, he said.
None of the positions that were cut have been restored, Clay said. He did not know if any laid-off individuals had been re-hired to fill vacant positions in the district.
The district is hiring replacement principals for Apollo School and as their principals are retiring at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. It is also seeking a director of technology and a director of special services.
The Apollo principal has been hired, and the district will soon start looking at candidates for the Gemini position. Clay said he hopes to have a candidate to recommend to the board by the June board meeting.
The next big expenditure for the school year is maintenance that will take place over the summer, including fixing and Nelson schools and replacing vehicles, at a price tag of $986,357.
Clay said the district has the money to cover that in its operations and maintenance budget, but said it was up to the board to decide if they would borrow the money instead.