More budget sessions set for RSU 10


DIXFIELD — An additional meeting to continue working through the budget proposals for fiscal year 2010-11 for Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 was scheduled at the board’s meeting Monday night.

Superintendent Tom Ward said at least one additional meeting would be needed. The additional meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 5, at the central office. At the Monday meeting, the board listened to a presentation by Kenny Robbins, director of building, grounds and transportation for the three-campus, newly formed school district.

Still to come are presentations for special educational services and central office costs, along with one or two others.

A very preliminary budget, from which all board members and staff are working from, shows a proposed $35 million budget, up from just over $34 million for the current fiscal year.

Ward has said that cuts will be made once all departments have made their presentations. The nearly one dozen resignations for the purpose of retirement, received so far, will help reduce any job losses, he has said.

Budget cuts would likely be necessary to offset the loss of state aid, currently set at about $560,000 less than last year, which is less than had been originally proposed by the state.

“Every little bit helps,” he said when he learned of the additional dollars. “That $300,000 means about six positions/programs won’t have to be cut.”

When cuts are made, he said the priority will be to save as much money as possible through reductions in equipment and supply purchases, leaving the elimination of positions as the last category to consider.

A budget for voter approval will likely be adopted by the board in late April or early May. Voters make their decisions on June 8.

In other matters on Monday, the board reviewed upcoming agreements with the towns of Dixfield and Rumford for use of their fields and, in the case of Dixfield, the town garage.

Proposed, and likely to be acted on at the April 12 board meeting, is an agreement with the town of Dixfield for use of Harlow and Marble parks at no costs, providing the school district maintains the fields. Also, the town of Dixfield has proposed an increase in the lease for the district’s use of the town garage for bus maintenance from $12,000 a year to $15,000 annually.

The Rumford Board of Selectmen have proposed an increase in the annual cost for using Hosmer Field from $15,000 a year to $20,000. However, Ward said the increased lease amount would include lining of the sports fields.

The costs for any major projects at either Harlow Park or Hosmer Field would be equally divided between the district and the towns of Dixfield or Rumford.

The board also approved two tournament trips by the Dirigo High School Debate Team to Omaha, Neb., in May and to Kansas City, Mo., in June.

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