News Feature

Penobscot
Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 3, 2013 and The Weekly Packet, January 3, 2013
Union 93 approves 2013-14 central office budget
Increase at “around 2.5 percent”

by Anne Berleant

School Union 93 board members met on December 17 at the Penobscot Community School to vote on next year’s central office budget, evaluate staff performances and vote on salary raises and contract renewals, all annual agenda items covered at each year’s end.

The budget was unanimously passed as presented at the November board meeting, with adjustments for salary raises approved by the board. These brought the final number to about $500,000, up “around 2.5 percent” estimated Superintendent Mark Hurvitt, from 2012-13’s budget of $481,229. Before salary adjustments, the increase was 2.37 percent.

The board also approved renewing contracts for all central office employees.

“When you have 23 people in the room, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Hurvitt in a follow-up phone call. His contract was unanimously extended through June 30, 2015; his salary was increased from $104,040 to $106, 641.

Sheila Irvine, Director of Special Services, saw her contract also extended through June 30, 2015, by unanimous vote; her salary increased from a first-year $72,240 to $73,727.

Curriculum coordinator Rachel Kohrman Ramos’ contract now runs through June 30, 2014, as approved by the board, with Blue Hill abstaining. Her salary increases from $61,440 to $63,406. Her contract is for one year, unlike other Union 93 officials, because it is federally funded on a year-to-year basis, Hurvitt explained.

The board also unanimously renewed all remaining central office staff through June 30, 2014.

Brooksville school board member Brad Jones was a lone vote opposing salary increases for Hurvitt, Irvine, Kohrman Ramos and business manager Carolyn Heller, who was granted a 2013-14 increase to $50,000 from $45,745 in order to bring her salary closer to the state average for similar positions.

The board gave unanimous approval to hourly rate increases ranging from $0.80 to $1 for bookkeeper/secretary Heather Lanpher, administrative secretary Susan Duddy and executive secretary Mary Jane Maltezos.

The meeting began with a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Newtown, Conn. school shooting.

Hurvitt reported that the union administrative team had a meeting scheduled for December 18 with a representative from Maine State Police to review police protocols and school security. In a follow up letter to parents of Union 93 students, he stated Trooper Greg Roy, head of the tactical unit in Troop J, Ellsworth, would visit each school to complete a school security checklist and to work with principals on protocols for lockdown drills planned for all schools for January. Updated emergency plans are slated for individual school board approval in February.

In other business, Blue Hill School Board Chairman Jon Smallidge continued the previous month’s discussion on board reorganization that would call for a two-year rotation of board chairman, filled from each school board in turn “to establish fairness and equity…and promote involvement.”

A second discussion, also continued from the November meeting, focused on Chairman Ben Wootten’s suggestion of forming a board subcommittee to “discuss ways to make the board function better.”

Jerry Markley (chairman, Penobscot) motioned to table both until April, giving individual boards time to decide; Joe Spinazola (Castine) seconded and the motion carried.

The board’s April meeting date is not yet determined.