MEXICO — The Regional School Unit 10 board and Superintendent Craig King urged selectmen from district towns Monday night to attend the public forums next month on the possible closure or restructuring some school buildings.

The statement was in response to letters from Mexico and Buckfield asking that the board reduce a proposed 2015-16 operating budget by 10 percent. That budget was $36.4 million.

“We cut $2.2 million last year. Ten percent would be $3.6 million,” King said. “We’re at the point of compliance now.”

Dixfield board member Barbara Chow said the board has been diligent every year.

“(That budget) has already had a negative impact. If we cut more, that would be more of a negative impact,” she said.

Rumford member Brad Gallant said cutting another 10 percent would be irresponsible, and school board Chairman Bruce Ross said he felt insulted by the letters from those towns.

Last year’s cuts resulted in the elimination or reduction of 44 part- and full-time positions.

King said each selectman received invitations to attend special Buildings and Grounds forums.

“That’s where the savings will come,” he said.

The forums are: March 10 at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford; March 16 at Dirigo High School in Dixfield; and March 24 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.

Ross said towns are asking for a 10 percent reduction while wondering why programs are cut.

DeFilipp added, “These people think you can cut 10 percent and not cut services or people. When we consolidate (buildings), we’ll know what to do.”

“We want all town selectmen at the buildings meetings,” King said.

“They need to know at what level we’re at,” Ross said.

The district includes the towns Buckfield, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Peru, Roxbury, Rumford & Sumner.

Newly appointed student representative and Mountain Valley High School junior Ronald Russell said from a student standpoint, no more cuts can be made.

“We’re already losing a music teacher during a trimester,” he said.

In other matters, the board approved travel by the Dirigo High School cheerleading squad to the New England Cheerleading Competition on March 21 in Lawrence, Mass.,

They also approved all seventh-graders at Mountain Valley Middle school to attend a multi-day experience in May at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond.

The cheerleaders are raising funds for their trip. The seventh-grade trip requires transportation from the district.


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