WALES — Voters have given another tentative yes to the RSU 4 school budget.

About 70 people showed up Wednesday night for the public budget vote, a required precursor to the full school budget referendum. The meeting took about an hour and, by the end of it, voters had approved a $17.6 million budget for schools in Sabattus, Litchfield and Wales. It’s a .15 percent increase over last year’s budget.

This is the third budget proposal the district has seen this summer. Voters rejected the first two.

The latest proposal is $69,000 less than the budget rejected last month after cutting $60,000 for elementary iPads and $9,000 in additional technology funds. It also relies on $15,000 more in revenue after increasing after-school activity fees at the high school, up from $25 to $50 per activity with a cap of $100, and adding those fees at the middle school, $25 per activity with a cap of $50.

Superintendent Jim Hodgkin said he was “cautiously optomistic” that this new budget will ultimately be approved in referendum. 

“I’d like to think that people are inclined to pass it because I think they’re realizing there isn’t a lot more that can be cut without really, dramatically affecting the quality of education, which is hopefully what everybody’s worried about,” he said.

The third budget proposal will next go to a referendum vote Tuesday and must pass by a cumulative vote in all three towns.

Litchfield twice has passed the budget. Wales passed it once, and Sabattus has rejected it both times.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sabattus Town Office, Wales Town Office and the Sportsmen’s Club in Litchfield.


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