RUMFORD – Residents of SAD 43 will have two chances to vote on a 2003-2004 operating budget.

School board members on Wednesday set a districtwide meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 5, at Mountain Valley High School to act on each of the 11 budgetary articles which total $13.7 million.

It is at this meeting, to be held in Muskie Auditorium, that people will have a chance to ask questions about the various parts of the proposed budget, and if voted so, to make changes.

Whatever final figure is adopted by a majority of residents during that meeting will then be voted on again June 10 during the local and state elections.

Called a validation vote, the only school budget question on the ballot will be whether people approve of the final figure adopted on June 5.

Voters will also be asked to choose whether they think the budget was too high or too low.

SAD 43 is the first district in the state to put a proposed budget before the voters in such a manner.

The districtwide meeting provides a chance to discuss and make changes, if so desired, to the budget adopted by the Board of Directors.

Residents approved the new way of adopting a budget at last year’s election.

If the figure adopted on June 5 is voted down on June 10, then another districtwide meeting will be held to determine a budget, followed by another referendum on the new amount.

“The only binding vote is the referendum vote,” Superintendent Danny Michaud said.

He said one of the intents of the state statute is to learn whether voters believe board-adopted budgets are “too high” or “too low.” The statute was passed a couple of years ago as an optional method of arriving at a school budget, but SAD 43 is the first to try it.

The polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 10 in the SAD 43 towns of Byron, Mexico, Roxbury and Rumford.

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