RSU 16 budget fails for third time

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.

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 's picture

In responce

Well, your correct on my misspelling.

On just voting no to vote no your wrong, However in times of ression I do belive School and Goverment budget in general should be held to zero growth. I think school consolidation was one of the smarting things our former governer did.

On Sick day, this is true I have not read the contract just what I have seen here, so let me ask how many sick day do the teachers receive? the national average according to the labor department is 8.6 days a year.

 's picture

Cost of education

Please vote no until teachers there have less then 20 paid sick days

Tammy English's picture

They do NOT currently have 20

They do NOT currently have 20 sick days!!! Get the facts straight and support our kids. Only some of them HAD that and those contracts have expired.

 's picture

Garry, with all due respect,

Garry, with all due respect, if you knew more of what you were talking about, you'd know that the contract is in negotiation as we speak. First, there are no teachers who have 20 paid sick days. You are clearly quoting someone who has repeatedly misquoted information at meetings. Second, the way in which you use the word "then" here is actually spelled "than". For instance, read the following sentence: Last night, I went to town hall, voted "no" to defeat the budget, *then* I went back home. Your sentence should read: "Please vote no until teachers have less *than* 20 paid sick days". You're welcome. Third, it's clear that the 20 paid sick days are not the basis for you voting "no". It's your contempt for education in general. You'd probably vote "yes" if the question was: "Should we close all schools in RSU 16 and pass the $1000/year tax savings on to the property owners?" Am I right?

 's picture

I'm sorry, Mark, but if I

I'm sorry, Mark, but if I hear one more "we're sending a message to Washington" or "we're trying to educate our children to live within their means", I'm going to hurl. If you think for one second that Washington gives a *rat's gluteus maximus* about RSU 16, or that you're teaching our children anything other than the fact that you don't value education, then there's nothing I can write here to educate you otherwise. You've clearly finished your education--and gotten out of it everything you ever will. Remember the referendum that Mainers passed a few years ago to tell the state to pay 55% of education costs? (I voted in favor of that, too.) But a lot of good that did, huh? So like it or not--no one is listening to you...not Maine, and certainly not DC. So, if we're going to educate our children, we're going to have to do it ourselves. And RSU 16 has now put forth 3 budgets (none of which are "excessive" or "lucrative"--believe me. Just compare this budget to that of any school in a 50-mile radius to see what kind of watered-down education my kids are getting. And be sure to compare teacher's and administrator's salaries while you're at it. Let me know what you think...if you bother to do it. It's easy to yell at your neighbors and kids' parents who serve on the school board when you feel the "government" is doing you wrong. But all they're doing is trying to educate the kids in this town when schools are being neglected by the state and federal governments, who continue to push mandates through and then leave them to be funded by the taxpayer.

Mark Elliott's picture

Might I suggest that you

Might I suggest that you carry a change of clothes and a bucket around with you then........

 's picture

Mark, after attending so many

Mark, after attending so many meetings and hearing this type of logic, they're both in my car! Look, I really mean no disrespect on this blog. In fact, there are several with whom I thoroughly disagree that I've stayed behind to speak with to find out where our similarities are. And there are actually many things that we agree upon, as long as their logic is sound. I've stayed behind for up to 30 minutes talking face to face--outnumbered 6-1--with people that I had been passionately speaking out against 30 minutes minutes before. And we've parted with a handshake and a "thanks for coming tonight--have a good night. See you next time." These are people that I do not know, but at least their logic is credible. We couldn't disagree more on the state of this budget, but one can at least see that they have some potentially viable ideas to consider in order to put forth a budget that accounts for increases to the budget to account for things that are out of the control of those responsible for educating our children. Based upon another post, I see that you don't like parents using words like "our children" in the argument. What do you suggest this is all about, then? For instance, if your 6 year old girl asks, "Why did *my older brother's name* get music class last year, and I didn't? And why do neither of us have it this year, but *Sally* does?", what would you answer her? Like it or not, I tell them both the truth, which is that there are things about this budget that cannot be cut, due to state and federal law (and no, the feds and state reps don't pay for it, either), and when other people don't want a tax increase and demand that schools cut their budget, they cut the only things that they can. "So you see, *6yr old daughter*, we can only afford to have the music teacher at our school for 3rd and 4th grade." And yes, my kids understand exactly what I'm talking about--they're pretty smart kids, in spite of the resources that their school has. When another opponent to this budget wrote in and said, "I've read that by 3rd grade, they all average out, anyway", I had to laugh, not only because of the sheer ridiculousness of that statement, but because it's not kids like mine that I'm worried about. They'll be fine, I assure you. They'll always read at 4 or 5 grade levels above where they are, and I'll be sure to hold them to much higher standards than the schools can afford to. But it's for the kids who struggle and may get lost in the shuffle of a 30-seat classroom that I care for. And yeah, I wouldn't mind all the benefits that come with a good music program in place for my own kids. But there I go again, making it all about the kids. Sorry! Only reply if you can keep up with this conversation, please. I don't have time for this.

Mark Elliott's picture

Nobody is blaming you for

Nobody is blaming you for "looking out for the kids"......that's not a bad thing. You said: "I see that you don't like parents using words like "our children" in the argument." Well, that isn't exactly what was said! The problem I have is any time I vote against anything I am accused of hating a group of people affected. This time my very own children! It is asinine and insulting.....then they turn around and ask us to support their cause. I sell for a living and the last thing I do when I want rapport with someone is insult them. In this day, we have to question all expenditures of our tax monies. It would be irresponsible if we didn't. I tell my children the truth and if the money isn't there for a specific program then the money isn't there.

There are only 4 people in the entire world that know what's best for my family. My wife, two kids, and myself.

 's picture

See--I knew we'd find

See--I knew we'd find something to agree upon. "There are only 4 people in the entire world that know what's best for my family. My wife, two kids, and myself." I tell my wife every day that I do not expect the schools to raise my kids. If I relied on them to do that, we'd all be in trouble. She agrees. In fact, I go so far as to tell my kids (more so my older one, for now) that you'll hear stuff in school that you'd better question, and question hard. Same for what you hear on the news, read in the paper, or in any type of media. If you only watch NBC, you'd better take it with a grain of salt and check it out on ALL the networks. You'd better be smart enough to read through all the bs that everyone will tell you is fact. "Even from a teacher, dad?" "Especially from a teacher, son!" So we're on the same page there. A wife and two kids...and a dog over here. But I teach in Auburn, and I teach everybody's kids. I teach the one's who "belong" (for lack of a better word) to close friends of mine, and I teach the one's from streets that I've never been on. I teach the ones who smell funny, and the ones who act funny. I teach the ones who are really good hockey players, and the ones who roll into my class in a motorized wheelchair, with the aide in the room who's there to make sure that the kid's heart monitor doesn't ring, or to check if that's just her regular "stare", or if she's having a seizure. Sorry for being graphic, but that's just a typical Tuesday in my room. Numbers are getting bigger in the classes where I teach, and it's being noticed. The "smart, well-behaved" kids are doing okay, but maybe they're not being challenged as much as they should be, because there are a lot of other kids in that room who need a lot more help than they do. I won't even start on "No Child Left Behind", which says that 100% of our kids will be proficient or exemplary by 2014. With 24 kids in a class, maybe 3 of them will do just fine, with no help. They'll sit there and listen and soak it all in. Another 6 of them need to be monitored constantly so they don't get each other in trouble, or hurt someone. 10 of them have no idea what the hell you're trying to get them to do, unless you present it to them in a manner they can understand, and 2 or 3 of them might have slept in a motel the night before--or in their mom's car--they don't care what the hell you want them to do, they ain't gonna do it! On top of that, they may be facing any host of other condition, including Autism, Down's Syndrome, Asberger's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, seizure disorders, allergies to anything you can spell (and many more that I cannot!), hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, and then there's the severely physically handicapped kids I see...I could go on and on. I can say, "Too bad those kids have such bad luck, or such idiots for parents, or too bad they got handed that *insert disability here*, but I'm going to focus my attention on the "good" kids. Those other ones are too much work to focus on." Or if they're a real behavior problem, I could just say "That kid drives me nuts!" Right? No. I can't. I know that you probably didn't have to deal with that host of issues in your class as a kid. I know that I didn't! My first few years of teaching were a real eye opener. But I've learned a lot about teaching someone else's kids. It's a huge responsibility. Between you and me, some of them do drive me nuts...I'm not perfect, man. And the parents downright piss me off sometimes. (I hope they're not reading this!) But every now and then something happens and you see the light go on. Or the kid says "OOOOOOOooooooooohhhhhhh! I get it now!" Or the kid in the wheelchair smiles at you in only the way she can. And you say, "That was pretty cool." And I'll tell you another thing. Their parents really appreciate it. There's nothing like having someone say, "Hey, thanks for all you do for my kid." I love hearing that. They don't need to say it, and it doesn't happen often, but when it comes from one of the "disadvantaged" households, it means a lot. I try to put myself in their shoes--because they've got that kid for all the hours that there isn't school! And we all know how much that is, right? Seriously, I don't fear for my kids--although I do wish their teacher had more time to push them harder to challenge them. I worry about the kid who's going to end up in a class of 30 kids, and doesn't "get it" to begin with. They're chances of "getting it" just got smaller. Believe me, I'm not in the business of raising anyone else's kids but my own, but you've got to admit that if we're ever going to have a society where 100% of our kids are successful...(I know, I can't read it with a straight face, either!), we've got to do better for some of these other kids--even if they're not your own. Look, sorry for ranting here. Maybe we should talk over a beer or something.

Mark Elliott's picture

It isn't about the 34

It isn't about the 34 dollars. It's about putting our government on a budget just like we have to do at home. This budget was padded right from the start because they knew it would meet resistance.

Tammy English's picture

I'd love to know what you

I'd love to know what you think was "padded." It's not salaries and it's not programs--those are facts. Facitilities cost what they do to heat and maintain. The budget was simply a reality and it's sad that people won't sacrifice for the sake of our children!

Mark Elliott's picture

If you want to convince us to

If you want to convince us to support the budget, might I suggest you avoid using our children in an attempt to make us feel guilty........

Tammy English's picture

No guilt intended, just a

No guilt intended, just a collective way of stating who they are without listing them by name! Please seek the facts and don't believe everything printed here. This isn't easy for anyone. I have never pretended it was. It's just that we are faced with a harsh reality, I highly value education and feel strongly that as a community, we all should, and our governments are failing in this area! That leaves it to us to pick up the pieces and give our children a competitive edge on their future.


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