WALES — In results released Wednesday morning, voters passed the RSU 4 school budget during Tuesday’s referendum.

In one nonbinding question, they also signaled that they’d rather spend $1.8 million on repairs than close two district elementary schools.

Next year’s $17.6 million budget is 2.16 percent higher than the current year. Litchfield only narrowly passed it, voting 196-190. Wales came out against in a 64-71 vote and Sabattus residents brought the count over the top, with a vote of 178-115.

The vote needed a simple majority among the three towns. The final tally was 438-376.

Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said he was relieved and pleased. Litchfield residents likely had concerns about their portion of the budget going up the most, he said. Some Wales residents still are upset about the closure of that town’s elementary school, he said.

He also heard from some voters upset that the district didn’t opt for privatized school busing this year. That move had been forecast to save money but cost jobs.

In a second, nonbinding question residents in the three towns were asked to weigh in on future capital improvements. The choice: Bond $1.8 million to repair several facilities and keep the school system as is or close Libby Tozier and Sabattus Primary schools, add a wing to another school and potentially reorder who goes where.

A majority in each town went for the $1.8 million option.

The school board will have to weigh that feedback as it picks up the issue next year, Hodgkin said. “The good thing is we have time.”

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RSU 4 school budget referendum results

Passage required a simple majority among the three towns.

Litchfield: 196-190

Sabattus: 178-115

Wales: 64-71

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