RSU 10 gets word of state aid hike

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DIXFIELD — Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 has received preliminary state aid figures that show a significant increase in funding from 2011-12.

It’s still not enough to offset the built-in increases,  Superintendent Tom Ward said, but the amount is going in the right direction.

Last year, the region’s state aid was reduced by a $500,000.

This year, early figures show an increase of about $277,000, Ward said.

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“This is the first time in years,” Ward said of the state-aid increase.

That figure is contingent upon passage of the state budget, something that likely will not happen for at least a month, he said.

Another bit of good news for the budget for school year 2012-13 is the retirement of nearly $200,000 of debt for the renovation of Dirigo High School.

Ward said built-in increases for the next school year total about $1.3 million. These are for such things as contracted salary hikes and additional money for fuel and other utilities.

The MaineCare issue will also affect the amount of money the district will have to operate the 12-town school district. Again, the amount of reimbursement will depend upon the adopted state budget.

The district has offered an incentive meant to encourage staff to retire if they meet age and number of years worked requirements.

So far, about a half-dozen professional staff have indicated they plan to retire at the end of the current school year.

The current operating budget is $34.2 million.

The RSU 10 board will begin hearing budget requests at the Feb. 13 meeting from the principals of Hartford-Sumner Elementary School, Rumford Elementary School, Meroby Elementary School, Dirigo Elementary School, Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, Dirigo Middle School, and Mountain Valley Middle School.

That meeting takes place at Dirigo High School in Dixfield.

The budget requests from the three high schools as well as from other cost centers will be heard at later meetings.

Residents will vote on the operating budget in May and June.

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