MEXICO – In just over 15 minutes, about 25 residents unanimously passed a secondary vocational budget and an adult and community education budget for school year 2003-04.

Attorney David Austin served as moderator of the town-meeting-style budget vote Tuesday night at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology.

The secondary school budget rose 5.8 percent from last year’s adopted figure largely because the salaries of the school’s instructors were brought in line with the average paid to teachers from the sending school districts. Higher health insurance premium costs were also a major factor, said Director Deborah Guimont.

As adopted, SAD 21 will pay $234,267; SAD 43, $438,628; SAD 44, $214,329; Peru, $86,978; Hanover, $12,461; Gilead, $9,968; and Upton, $249.

SAD 43 sends 70 students; SAD 21 sends nearly 40; SAD 44 sends almost 35; and the remaining students come from the unaffiliated towns.

The adult and community education budget rose 2.5 percent to $203,000. SAD 21 will pay $18,686; SAD 43, $66,267; SAD 44, $14,333; Peru, $4,479; Hanover, $608; Gilead, $372; and Upton, $146. The remaining funds needed to operate the program come from student fees and grants.

A third question asked residents to vote again on the purchase of the River Road school. A technical language error discovered by attorneys when conducting the paperwork for purchase of the school prompted the second vote. Residents said yes last year, and again on Tuesday night.

The second vote comes on the eve of the expected final closure on the purchase of the property set for Wednesday.

As agreed to, Region 9 will buy the school from Alan Archibald at a cost of $532,328 over a 10-year period. It has been home to the nearly 160 vocational students for the past three years.

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