THE SQUIRMING BEGINS FOR THE POSSIBLE MASSIVE CUTS FROM THE STATE · 3/5/2013

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School and city officials everywhere in Maine, are squirming over possible huge loses in state revenue. This article says the school may lose up to $1.4 million. (I have now learned that this $1.4 million is on the school side) I believe that is the total sum, that Brewer may lose, not just the school department. There is no indication what the school loss would be in this article.The Brewer municipal side of this loss, could decimate a couple of departments, let alone cutting huge services to the public.It is the alarm that has been sounded by Governor LePage, that all elected officials, state wide, need's to heed. I believe that alarm is being responded to,in a big way. Brewer will have a chance to hear how our legislator's feel about this issue, on Thursday night, at the Brewer Auditorium at 6:30.Obviously, there is a tremendous need to fill a budget hole, that has fallen into the governor's lap. Now, is the time for those elected officials to represent us, to come up with the right and responsible answers.My guess is that this big revenue cut will not be coming to Brewer; however, Brewer will undoubtedly suffer a few hundred thousand dollars, unless a possible tax increase becomes the norm over the state. Brewer cannot afford to raise taxes.I apologize for the way this article is laid out here. Apparently a problem with ourstory.

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BANGOR DAILY NEWS ARTICLE BELOW:
City may have to cut more than 20 positions at schools, says Brewer superintendent. The Brewer School Board gets ready for their meeting at the Brewer Community School on Monday evening.Gabor Degre Buy Photo By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN StaffPosted March 04, 2013, at 10:26 p.m. Last modified March 05, 2013, at 5:48 a.m.BREWER, Maine -- Teachers said they were frightened for their jobs and for programs offered to students after hearing Monday night that one out of every nine positions may be chopped if all the cuts proposed in Augusta are put into place.

"I'm scared," one Brewer High School teacher, who asked not to be identified, said after the meeting ended."It's worrisome," said Lucy Girodet, an English teacher at Brewer High School. "It's worrisome because there are variables we don't know yet. We need those other pieces.

"Superintendent Daniel Lee and School Department business manager Gretchen Gardner outlined the budget figures for fiscal year 2013-14 to the school board. The budget will be presented to teachers and staff Tuesday during a voluntary meeting."We estimate we're probably going to be $1.4 million short. In human terms that 24 to 27 positions -- that's mostly teachers," said Lee, who described the budget process as the "most difficult" one he has ever worked on in his decades as a school administrator. "This is going to have a serious impact on our schools.

"Lee and Gardner are dedicating about half of their workdays to figuring out a way to cut the projected $1,364,155 shortfall."Personnel is 80 percent of our budget, so that is where you have to look," the school finance director said after the meeting.The presentation by Lee and Gardner did not break down the figure to specific dollar amounts, but they listed a reduction in state revenues, a shift in a portion of teachers' retirement payments from the state to local school districts, and changes in health insurance as items that contributed to the deficit. They also discussed tuition rates -- students from outside the district account for about 50 percent of the high school population -- and how cuts to programs hurt the rate, which is already about $1,000 less per student than the state average."You can't cut your way out of this problem," school board member David Austin said.

The School Department has tried to keep a flat budget in recent years, and has been able to do so in part by eliminating positions, Lee said."In the past five years we've eliminated 30 positions," the superintendent said.There were 256 employees in 2008 and there are now 226."Personnel reduction was the place where we ended up going to every year to balance the budget," Gardner said. "By the end of last year, we found ourselves down by 30 positions."The state already cut $12.58 million from education funding in December, removing $81,169 in state funding from Brewer's school budget revenue, and Gov. Paul LePage's budget would flat-fund schools at the lower rate next year."We have to try and figure out a way to solve this," Gardner said. "It is going to have to be a whole bunch of things to come up with the difference. Will we have to cut the budget, or ask the city for more," are among questions that still need to be answered, she said.

The governor's proposed $6.3 billion biennial budget, which includes a two-year suspension of the state's municipal revenue sharing program that offsets municipal property taxes, would hurt communities all over Maine, including Brewer, the school officials said.

"They are going to be in as big of a hole as we are," school committee Chairwoman Janet McIntosh said of the Brewer City Council.

If there was ever a time to contact local state leaders, it is now, she said, adding residents also can learn more about the governor's proposed budget at an information session starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Brewer Auditorium.Special education teacher Herb Taggart said after the school board meeting that he agreed with Austin's comments about cutting programs and added that his department is "one of those things that would be frightening if we cut."

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