DIXFIELD — The $36.2 million budget proposed for RSU for 2014-15 was approved by 100 or so residents at a districtwide meeting Tuesday night at Dirigo High School.

Residents of the 12 member towns had a chance to ask questions about each component of the budget.

Rumford resident Candace Casey motioned to cut the $13.1 million requested for regular instruction to $10.35 million. She questioned whether students were getting what residents were paying for because several of the district schools had received an “F” on a state-issued report card.

She said $31 million would be sufficient to educate the district’s 2,600 students.

Her motion was voted down and the original figure was approved.

Recent Dirigo High School graduate Addy Fuller took issue with Casey’s remarks.

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“I graduated from DHS and I’m in college. I resent (what) was said,” she said.

Resident Karen Wilson, who teaches in another district, said she was pleased with her child’s education and wanted to add money back into the proposed budget.

There was confusion when board member Brad Gallant motioned to what some believed would allow those attending to vote on all 11 budget articles at the same time. He later clarified his motion, but not before Superintendent Craig King said regardless of whether such a motion was legal, he wanted residents to have a chance to ask questions about each article.

Residents overwhelmingly approved each article, including: $13.1 for regular instruction, $6.2 for special education, $1.9 million for vocational education, $1.14 million for other instruction, $3.1 million for student and staff support, $793,000 for system administration, $1.7 million for school administration, $2.38 million for transportation and buses, $4.36 million for building maintenance, $1.4 million for debt service, nearly $79,000 for all other expenditures, and $5.1 million for additional local funds.

The total is slightly less than this year’s $36.5 million. To reach the budget proposed for 2014-15, 44 full- and part-time positions were eliminated; the building that houses the Central Office, fitness center and additional classrooms for DHS was closed; and $150,000 was cut from the sports and other activities accounts.

King said a major reason for the cuts was $1.1 million less in state aid than last year.

John Madigan, town manager of Mexico and Rumford, moderated the meeting.

Residents now will vote “yes” or “no” at a referendum Tuesday, June 10, at polling stations Dixfield, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Peru, Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner and Hanover.


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