NEW VINEYARD – Voters held a Special Town Meeting on Saturday to discuss creating a committee to study and make recommendations to the SAD 9 budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year. The issue concerns the $21,285,352 budget, which is a 2.5 percent increase from SAD 9’s budget of $20,765,361 last year.

New Vineyard resident David Hargreaves told voters “you can take two million (dollars) off the budget and it would never hurt the kids at all. Everybody’s losing their jobs and everybody’s taking a cut in pay except the budget in SAD 9. We don’t want to wait for SAD 9 to cut the budget; we’d like to cut the budget ourselves. We have three languages offered at SAD 9: German, French and Spanish. Do we really need 3 languages?” he asked, stating that the students would never use German and Spanish. “We have to take the budget apart, page by page…”

An unidentified person added “Kids have to learn that they’re not born with a golden spoon in their mouths: I think there’s a need for this committee, and that we need to cut the budget.”

Voters discussed their feelings of disenfranchisement from the SAD 9 budgeting process. According to Selectman Fay Adams, “We have asked SAD 9 to bring a district meeting to New Vineyard. We need something done now, so that we have some proposals. We need to look at their budget: belt-tightening is what we need.”

SAD 9 School Board member Francis Orcutt, a former resident of New Vineyard, vehemently disagreed with Hargreaves and Adams, asserting that “all selectmen in nine towns (comprising SAD 9) were invited to the budget meeting to have the opportunity to speak.” He said that it simply wasn’t possible to cut $2 million from the budget without it having an adverse impact on “the kids.”

Voters approved an amended article so that the committee would allow members outside of New Vineyard from the other towns represented by SAD 9.While the majority of the 60 people who signed the petition requesting the meeting didn’t attend the event, 21 people were nominated to serve on the committee: David Hargreaves, Barbara Benoit, Douglas Fletcher, Francine Fletcher, Rick Fenoff, Fay Adams, Brian Fletcher, David Fletcher, Lauris Bailey, Robert Burton, Eddie Merrill, Sandy Howard, Lowell Dube, Jr., Wayne Drake, Farris Fletcher, James Fletcher, Jerry Howard, Laura Hudson-Preble, Wayne A Fletcher, Wayne G. Gletcher, and Leonard Ellis.

Voters also elected Wayne A. Fletcher and Wayne Drake to serve as associate members of the Planning Board for 2 year terms, and voted to amend the Hours of Operation of the solid Waste and Recycling Facility to be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on designated holidays and on Town Meeting Day. Gary Bestwick was elected Moderator of the meeting.


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