RSU 58 voters approve loan for upgrades

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PHILLIPS — Voters in Strong, Avon, Phillips and Kingfield on Tuesday overwhelming approved Regional School Unit 58’s request to apply for a state-backed $1.2 million loan for building renovations.

The unofficial tally was 102-30, according to Superintendent Susan Pratt. 

The no-interest loan from the Maine Department of Education’s School Revolving Renovation Fund would pay for a new elevator and handicapped access at Phillips Elementary School, and for upgrading the fire suppression system in the cafeteria and the antiquated roof exhaust system at Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township.

Schools could be closed if the state-mandated upgrades and repairs are not done, Pratt told voters at a public hearing. She said the high school cafeteria, as is, would not pass state inspection in November and would have to close if the fire suppression system is not fixed.

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Pratt said the school board has approved spending the money and has included the first payment on the loan in the 2017-18 budget. She said the district will pay 47 percent of the loan and the state will pay the rest.

The district’s repayment plan is $57,000 per year for 10 years.

The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services’ Bureau of General Services is to provide engineering expertise, technical reviews and bidding and contract assistance. The district has two years to get the projects done.

Directors set the 2017-18 budget meeting for May 30 at Mt. Abram High School. The proposed $9.37 million spending plan is up from $9.19 million last year.

The final budget will go to voters in June.

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