Pre-K, patio repair would boost budget

MOUNT DESERT — If there are no changes at Mount Desert Elementary School next year, if there is nothing new, then spending would go up a minuscule 0.39 percent to $4.52 million under the budget proposed by Principal Gloria Delsandro.

The town’s appropriation of taxpayer money for the school would actually drop by 0.48 percent, largely because of a projected increase of carryover funds from the current budget year.

But there are a few spending items that Delsandro would like to add. The largest is $180,532 to start a pre-kindergarten program, for which the school committee has previously expressed strong support. The cost of a pre-K program would drop to around $134,000 in subsequent years.

Delsandro told the committee on Tuesday that she and Julie Meltzer, the school system’s director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, have met with Aaron Long, executive director of the Mount Desert Nursery School in Northeast Harbor, about pre-K education.

“We’ve explored ideas for possible collaborations between our school and the nursery school,” she said. “Julie has been invited to their board meeting later this month to talk about that.”

Delsandro said she expects to have more information on that to share with the school committee at its next meeting.

The second largest spending item on her add-on wish list is $28,000 to repair the brickwork on the narrow island that separates Joy Road from the bus lane in front of the school, as well as on the patio at the rear of the building.

“There are a lot of places on the patio where the bricks are crumbling or bulging out,” Delsandro said. “The patio is a place of great joy. It’s the first place the kids go for recess, and they run and they fall. So, it’s a safety hazard.”

The total cost of the items Delsandro wants to add to next year’s budget is $212,732. If the school committee approves, the budget would go up 5.12 percent to just over $4.73 million.

Committee members will continue their review of the 2020-21 budget at their Feb. 5 meeting.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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