MEXICO — The Region 9 School of Applied Technology board reviewed a draft budget Wednesday night that showed a slight increase. It also heard a recommendation to add two new vocational programs.

The proposed 2015-16 budget of $2.26 million is up about $125,000 from the current year because of a 10 percent hike in health insurance premiums, a 2 percent staff raise and an expansion of programming, Director Brenda Gammon said.

Public hearings on the proposed budget were scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel, and 7:30 p.m. at the Region 9 school on River Road.

The budget will be voted on by residents at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6.

The board is expected to finalize a budget at its April 1 meeting.

Region 9 serves students from most towns in Regional School Unit 10 and School Administrative District 44, along with a few from the unaffiliated towns Gilead, Upton and, most recently, Andover.


A member from Andover likely will be appointed to the board within a couple of months.

In response to student and business surveys circulated during the past year or two, the board is also recommending that two new vocational programs be offered next year: a business course to be taught by computer teacher Ruth Brown and culinary arts. A teacher would be hired to fill the culinary arts position.

Talk of offering a culinary program has been ongoing for many years.

The board also heard reports from forestry teachers Dave Mason and Mark Beaudoin, who have 16 students, and from automotive instructor Brian Mills who, with instructor Jerry Pelletier, who has 21 students.

The number of forestry students had dropped for several years until recently, Mason said.

This year’s Woodmen’s Competition will be hosted by Region 9. At least four schools with forestry programs will compete on May 21 and 22 at Welch’s Campground in Dixfield.

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