The most recent dispute between the city of Millinocket and its faculty division over the college finances has raised questions on what is going to come subsequent as the primary week of the brand new fiscal yr ended and not using a new finances in place.
City councilors authorized a payroll warrant that contained raises for college employees at a particular assembly Wednesday after Superintendent Joshua McNaughton accused city leaders of withholding wages, prompting a flurry of emails and social media posts from indignant faculty academics and employees, in addition to a deliberate protest that was canceled after the particular assembly.
Contracts containing raises for directors, custodians, secretaries and clerical assistants took impact July 1, which is why the college division requested city treasurer Mary Alice Cullen to pay the upper wage fee regardless of not having an authorized finances in place to account for these raises, McNaughton stated Wednesday.
A union contract containing raises for academics takes impact Sept. 1, he stated.
The brand new fiscal yr for 2023 began final Friday, on July 1, however there’s no vote deliberate for native residents to approve a brand new faculty finances. The college board has suspended the finances course of with out delivering a balanced finances to the city for approval, and the city continues to bar the college division from spending its federal COVID aid funds.
The most recent skirmish over faculty division funds dates again to November, based on City Council Chair Steve Golieb. That month, city officers stated McNaughton refused at hand over management of faculty financial institution accounts that contained $630,000 to the city treasurer, in violation of state regulation.
The financial institution accounts, which dated again to 1969, are actually beneath Cullen’s management, however different questions persist about whether or not the college division’s worldwide program has dependable income, when a brand new faculty finances shall be in impact, and whether or not there shall be any penalties if the city continues into the approaching faculty yr with out approving a brand new finances.
State regulation requires that the college division function on the earlier yr’s finances till a brand new one is in place, however Golieb stated he frightened that the city would face authorized legal responsibility for approving the Wednesday payroll warrant as a result of it included wages for brand spanking new positions and line gadgets that voters had not but authorized.
The college board voted to approve a finances proposal at a June 14 assembly the place two board members resigned after members of the viewers and the president of the academics’ union accused them of mistrusting McNaughton as a result of they’d requested to delay a vote to debate among the numbers behind the 2022-23 finances.
However since then, the college board has halted the finances course of, the Lincoln County Information reported Thursday.
The board voted 3-0 at a particular assembly on June 29, following an govt session, to droop the finances course of till McNaughton obtained entry to a checking account containing carryover funds from final faculty yr.
McNaughton, who turned Millinocket’s superintendent final July, didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Friday.
Golieb and City Supervisor Peter Jamieson stated the college division had entry to all of its accounts, and stated that they didn’t know what account McNaughton was referring to, in emails between the City Council, McNaughton and college employees that the Bangor Each day Information reviewed.
As well as, an order directing Cullen, the city treasurer, to not approve any faculty division spending of COVID aid funds stays in impact, Golieb stated.
City officers voted final month to cease cost on these COVID funds as a result of the college division hadn’t reimbursed the city for any of the cash it had loaned the division in anticipation of receiving the federal funds, and since the city had not obtained particulars about how the college district was utilizing the cash.
The college division purchased a John Deere tractor, repaved a car parking zone and acquired a brand new auditorium curtain and new lunch tables with the funds, based on faculty board assembly minutes.
A Maine Division of Schooling spokesperson stated on the time that the company anticipated receiving a brand new COVID fund utility from the college division quickly, however didn’t reply to a query concerning the standing of that utility on Friday.
Approval of the appliance would enable the state to launch the federal funds designated for the Millinocket College Division.
There have been two current events through which Millinocket voters didn’t approve a faculty finances till after the fiscal yr started, based on city information.
Residents authorized the college division’s fiscal yr 2022 finances in a July 20, 2021 vote, and the earlier yr’s finances in a July 28, 2020 vote, properly previous the July 1 begin of the brand new fiscal yr, based on previous ballots.
In these circumstances, Golieb stated, the college division operated on the earlier years’ budgets till voters authorized new budgets with none issues.
Cullen didn’t reply to a query Friday a couple of authorized penalty if the city didn’t approve a faculty finances.
The City Council will maintain a particular assembly someday within the subsequent two weeks with the college division and college board to debate the finances approval course of, Golieb stated.