Millinocket school system could see $400k funding cut
MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Millinocket has faced constant financial struggles since the loss of the paper mill, but now the town's schools are starting to suffer as enrollment decreases.
Millinocket School System is looking at a nearly $400,000 shortfall in its projected 2016 funding, largely due to fewer students. More than $300,000 was lost due to that lack of enrollment, and about $72,000 was lost due to students from outside territories moved into the district. The state Department of Education bases its funding on each individual school's enrollment, and Millinocket currently has only 500 students in the system, K-12, as opposed to four times that amount years back. And the number is expected to continue to decline after this school year with more than 50 seniors graduating, but little more than 20 kindergartners coming entering the system.
"A high school student is around a little over $9,700 and an elementary school student's cost of education is around $6,000. The state pays a percentage of that, so each time we lose a student, we lose a little percentage of that money," said Millinocket Superintendent of Schools, Frank Boynton.
Boynton said the Millinocket School System plans to add a pre-kindergarten level to the schools by Fall 2015 in order to raise enrollment. However, the school system won't receive additional funds for those students for two years, as funding is based on enrollment two years prior to the current date.
The 2016 revenue predictions are not finalized and are subject to change depending on the amount of state funding, which is yet to be approved by the state Department of Education.