Dodging voters is part of SAD 27 school board politics

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During the debate over the 2007 school consolidation law, many local officials decried the budget validation provision requiring a district-wide referendum vote to approve all proposed school budgets.  The reason most cited was the extra costof holding another election.

Cost concerns have gone out the window during this economic recession, however, at least for the MSAD 27 school board.

Today’s Bangor Daily News reports the SAD 27 school board is putting its proposed $11,569,900 school budget out to a vote on Thursday—two days after today’s statewide primary election.

Why?  According to the district superintendent, “Several board members were fearful holding the budget vote the same day [as the primaries] would mean the budget would get voted down.”

An earlier post on this site listed the FY 2009 salaries of every superintendent in Maine.  The SAD 27 superintendent’s salary was $94,436.  To compare, according to the U.S. Census, in 2008 Maine’s median household income is $46,419.  Aroostook County’s median household income is $36,107.

Fort Kent Town Council Chair Louis Moreau isn’t happy about the school board’s behavior either.  He recognizes the added costs to town, and the inconvenience to voters who would have to head to the polls just two days after today’s election.  Mr. Moreau also raised the issue last year when the school board pulled the same shenanigans.

Besides Fort Kent, MSAD 27 includes the towns of Eagle Lake, New Canada, St. Francis, St. John Plantation, Wallagrass and Winterville.

James O’Malley, chairman of the SAD 27 board, fears today’s voters would reject his $11.6 million budget.  That was confirmed when he said, “If people are dissatisfied with the [state] referendum questions, that momentum can be carried over to the school budget.”

It’s clear SAD 27 school board members only want residents who support their budget to exercise the right to vote.  That means aggravating voters and costing the towns more, and that’s a price they are willing to have taxpayers pay.