Vocational budget adopted by board

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MEXICO — Directors of the Region 9 School of Applied Technology adopted a $2 million budget Tuesday night by a vote of 5-3.  It represents a 1.4 percent increase over this year.

Voting against the proposal were Betty Barrett and Randy Canwell, both of Mexico, and Frank DiConzo, a selectman from Rumford.

“We have got to be in line with everyone else, to have the same or a lower budget,” Barrett said.

She also disagreed with a 1 percent salary hike for most of the school’s instructors and other staff.

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“I don’t believe we can give any kind of increase,” she said, adding that employees were getting 2 percent more toward their health insurance premiums.

Bethel representative Lynn Arizzi, who voted for the budget, said the 1 percent salary hike added up to $8,000 of the $28,602 overall budget increase. She also said that those employees with family health plans are still paying more for the benefit.

Contracting with nearby Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 for technical services, and other minor costs, accounted for the rest of the budget increase.

Director Brenda Gammon said $60,000 of the school’s $122,000 carryover funds will be used toward the budget.

Also voting to adopt the budget were: Rumford Selectman Jeff Sterling, Wayne Thurston of Peru, Norman Clanton of Newry and Carl Lueders, Canton. Hanover representative Sally Arsenault was absent.

Residents of the 16-town region will vote on the budget May 18.

The board was scheduled to act on an adult and community education budget of $279,173, down 6 percent from this year’s adopted budget of $296,945.

Two public hearings on the proposed budgets take place next Monday. The first is at 6 p.m. at Telstar High School in Bethel and the second at 7:30 p.m. at Region 9 on the River Road.

Voting takes place at 6 p.m. May 18, at the River Road school.

The board also elected officers and set meeting dates for the upcoming year.

Longtime Chairman Clanton was elected to another one-year term by a vote of 5-3 over DiConzo. Veteran Vice Chairman Thurston did not seek another term and DiConzo was elected to that post.

The board also voted to change its regular meeting night to the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. beginning with the June 9 meeting.

In other matters, the board accepted the resignation of forestry educational technician Ben Welch, and approved an increase in substitute pay for those certified in the vocation for which they substitute, to $120. All other substitutes will receive $75 a day.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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