Regional School Unit 16 voters Tuesday failed to ratify the $17.8 million budget passed a week ago at a district-wide meeting. The vote was 570-582.
Mechanic Falls and Poland voters approved the proposed budget in relatively close votes, 118-110 and 335-307, respectively.
The vote failed in Minot, 117-165.
Tuesday's referendum was the district's third attempt to pass a budget.
In May, voters rejected an $18.1 million spending plan by a vote of 715–436.
In June, with about $270,000 trimmed, the tally was 616–494.
During the summer, the School Committee lowered the budget another $25,000 and took additional money from the district's fund balance to reduce the impact on local property taxes.
Had the most recent attempt to pass a budget succeeded, it was estimated that taxes on a $100,000 property in Mechanic Falls would have seen its taxes reduced by about 35 cents, while similar properties in Poland and Minot would have seen their taxes increase by about $10 and $34, respectively.
A total of 1,152 residents cast ballots. A total of 651 said they believed the budget amount was too high; 395 said it was too low.
The School Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at Poland Regional High School to discuss its next step.