The below questions and answers regarding the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District’s planned school project were provided by Superintendent of Schools Robert M. Kahler.
Q: Why did the CSD opt for a locally funded project and not pursue a state approved project?
● There were a number of factors which led to the decision to pursue a locally funded project versus a state funded project:
● The importance of the schools to the community and the impact of decades of deferred maintenance. These discussions began more than five years ago.
● In order to qualify for any state subsidy, the local expenditures for education in the CSD would need to increase by $6,888,592 (more than double current levels) to reach the cap that would trigger state assistance.
○ For educational purposes / subsidy (See MDOE ED 279) the expected mil rate for education is 6.7 for both Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. The rates for 2023-24 are
■ Boothbay 3.6%
■ Boothbay Harbor 2.5%
Q: What percentage of the town's tax revenue currently goes to funding our schools?
● Boothbay: 54% (2023)
● Boothbay Harbor 38.6% (2022)
Q: Was there any study conducted on current and future enrollment and if so - what are those numbers?
● A: Yes. A formal population study was conducted and completed in May of 2022. That study is online but here is a brief synopsis:
● The projected decline in student enrollment in the CSD through 2031-32 is: 31 Students (or 3.1 per year)
● The attached table has the first two years of the studies projections (2022-23) and this year.
As of August 31, 2023 we are currently 24 students above what was projected for 2023-24
Q: Have there been any discussions about whether or not additional staff would need to be hired to maintain the building and grounds?
● A: Yes. At this time, it is likely that we would need to hire one additional custodian due to the increased size of the facilities. Much thought has gone into the type of materials used and ease of upkeep and sustainability throughout each phase of the design process.
Q: Are there projected energy savings in the design of this project?
● Yes. based on current prices and contracts, are estimated to be more than 50,000.00 per year less for the high school than the current facility. The high school and middle school addition are also designed to be built solar ready if we wish to reduce energy costs further.
Q: Have there been any discussions about hiring additional staff and or offering additional courses associated with this project?
● A: Any discussion about additional staffing and or course offerings would occur during regular board meetings and would be handled through the operating budget process.
● The facilities are designed to maintain and enhance the current educational program with the potential for expansion of offerings for students and adults based on design, infrastructure improvements and flexible, multi- purpose use of spaces.
Q: Has there been an analysis of the tax implications of this process?
● A: Yes that has been posted and shared with both town managers as well as posted on our website and social media.
Q: Is our cost per student in the CSD among the highest in the state? Will this project increase our cost per student ratio?
● A: No and No
● The cost per student figures have proven to have been a challenge as people are using different formulas to calculate. If you utilize the official methods of calculating cost per student you will find: The costs of capital investments are not included – as they would be spread out per student for generations.
● Using official statistics you will find that the CSD Cost per student is not in the top 50 in the state – though it does break into the top 100.
Q: Will Fundraising Continue after the vote in November whether the bonds pass or not?
● A: Yes. We recognize the importance of fundraising to offset the costs to taxpayers as much as possible. We will be engaging in a multi year capital campaign - utilizing any and all donations to offset the costs to taxpayers.
Q: Have fundraising efforts begun?
● A: Behind the scenes organizational work is underway and picking up in intensity. Formal solicitations did not begin earlier as we needed to wait on the final approval on the design and questions for our communities.
Q: How much money did the CSD receive in tuition for last year from other communities?
● A: Just under $1.1 million dollars
Q: Have the flood repairs at BRES been accounted for in the proposed cost of the Elementary and Middle School Project?
A: Yes they have been accounted for.
Q: Does the new design for the schools offer hands on learning opportunities in addition to science and technology learning opportunities?
● A: Yes. The new high school design (and the middle and elementary design) actually expand student access to STEM and STEAM education. Students have high interest in this area, but we are limited by space in the current high school. The classroom design also allows for further flexibility in regard to high interest classes.
Q: Have there been any detailed studies of existing conditions of the CSD schools?
A: Yes. Two Separate Teams of Engineers completed detailed existing conditions reports which have been shared multiple times. Attached is a summary of the costs per urgency of repair.