DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen presented the board of directors Tuesday evening with details for three options for the proposed budget for 2018-19, as requested by the board.
The options were a 4 percent increase over 2017-18, 2 percent increase and no increase.
After hearing the details of each, the board selected the 2 percent increase, which means a budget of $12.32 million.
The increase means taxes on a $100,000 home in Canton could go up by $365; Carthage, $165; Dixfield, $200; and Peru, $220.
Cuts are being considered to bring that to no increase, Doyen said.
The superintendent said the district is losing several revenue sources, including:
• Money for the Region 9 School of Applied Technology will go directly to the career technical education school, not the district.
• The state allocation for RSU 56 is less money than the previous year.
• There is limited reimbursement for MaineCare services because the district has no licensed social worker or psychologist to be the supervisor to oversee Behavior Health Provider educational technicians.
• Property values for some towns have increased.
• There are about 10 fewer students districtwide.
Savings being considered include:
• $194,779 by not upgrading school networks;
• $10,000 by hiring new custodians when custodians retire; and
• $32,000 by hiring new physical education at Dirigo Elementary School and math teachers at Dirigo High School following teacher retirements.
“If we continue to have (tax) increases to towns of double digits we’re going to have people moving away and we’re going to have a ghost town,” Director Bruce Ross of Dixfield said. “We’ve got to look to see what we can do to maintain so that people can stay in their homes and be able to afford their taxes.”
But Selectman Don Hutchins of Canton had a different point of view.
“It costs what it costs to educate our kids,” Hutchins said. “Who’s gonna move in (to our towns if we cut too many programs)?”
The board will review the budget at 6:30 p.m. April 10 at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School. It will vote on a final budget at 6:30 p.m. April 24 at Dirigo High School.
Regional School Unit 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen presents the 2018-19 budget at a school board workshop Tuesday at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)