RUMFORD — Nearly $1 million was cut from the Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 proposed budget Monday night, with nearly $2 million more to go.

The goal is to present a budget to voters in June that will be the same as this year’s: $34.2 million.

Even so, school taxes will more than likely increase for each of the district’s 12 member towns because of higher property values, lower state aid to education, the elimination of federal education funds, higher fuel costs and built-in salary increases.

Superintendent Tom Ward said at the next board meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 9 at Dirigo High School is needed to finalize the budget. At that time, position cuts, and program cuts or reductions, will be announced.

“This is the budget year we hit bottom,” Ward said. The fiscal year 2012-13 will be better, but not much, he said. “There are a lot of ifs.”

He said the tight budget development process is something that is slowing down the two-year-old regional school unit from continuing its focus on providing the same educational and extra-curricula offerings in each of the three regions.

Dixfield board member Barbara Chow said budget restrictions give the appearance of going backward, rather than forward.

She also was concerned with the number of textbook requests reduced in the proposed budget. Among those reduced or eliminated were social studies texts for Dirigo Middle School seventh-graders, English and science texts for Buckfield middle schoolers, English texts at Dirigo High School, and English and science texts at Mountain Valley High School.

Technology took a significant hit of nearly $101,000 that would have supplied new or replacement computer interactive classroom Smartboards, LCD projectors, computer carts and computers.

Experiencing the biggest loss was the buildings and maintenance account, which came in at just over a half-million dollars.

Buildings and Maintenance director Kenny Robbins said severe cuts will eliminate numerous plans, including replacement of the fence at Harlow Park, Marble Park field repairs, gym floor replacement at Dirigo High School, a new roof over the boys’ locker room at Mountain Valley High School, replacement lighting at several schools, sound system updates and several other major and minor repair or replacement projects.

Ward said he and the region’s administrative team will meet early next week to discuss specific personnel cuts and program cuts or reductions. A few days after that, he will meet with representatives from the teachers’ association to seek agreement on personnel reductions.

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