BUCKFIELD — RSU 10 Superintendent Craig King, with input on the development of the 2013-14 budget from former Superintendent Tom Ward, wrapped up the second of two public information meetings Wednesday night at a session attended by about two dozen people, mostly from Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner.

Opinions on the proposed $36.5 million budget were pretty much evenly divided.

Residents of the regional school unit will decide Thursday night at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford whether to approve a budget. This will be the second time residents will act on an operating budget for the sprawling district, which comprises 12 towns in the Rumford, Dixfield and Buckfield areas.

Voters narrowly defeated the original $36.2 million budget at referendum on June 11 by just over 30 votes of more than 3,000 cast.

The budget to be determined on Thursday is higher than the initial figure because the state Legislature has since mandated that all districts pay a portion of teacher retirement costs that had originally been the responsibility of the state.

For RSU 10, that amount is $468,000. The state provided about $345,700 more in state aid to help offset the new cost. RSU 10 administrators and school board made another $128,500 in reductions.


The result was a higher budget, but with a lower percentage of local money required.

That figure, at 0.36 percent, was not nearly as much as Sumner resident Tom Standard believed should have been cut.

“Voters turned down the last budget that was less,” he said. “Administrators cut $128,000. What were you thinking? Were you thinking you’d wear the people out by continuing to go to the polls?” 

Others disagreed with Standard.

“The board has cut more that I’d expect,” Buckfield resident David Anderson said. “We have educational needs for our kids. To cut more would be outrageous.”

However, Buckfield resident Judy Berg said a “humongous” amount of money is spent on extracurricular activities.


“Let the town organize them,” she said.

Berg is a major backer of Buckfield exploring withdrawal from RSU 10.

Buckfield resident and former school board member Maida Demers-Dobson said many services must be provided to students that aren’t reimbursed by the state.

“The school board represents the needs of the kids,” she said. “This meeting has an element of fruitless hope to withdraw from this district.”

She said prior to joining RSU 10, the former SAD 39 had ripped-up carpets and couldn’t buy books.

“We were broke,” she said. “This budget is a minimal hit to our pocketbooks.” 

After the districtwide vote on Thursday, residents will go to the polls in their individual towns on July 30 to vote on the new budget.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: