PHILLIPS — The Regional School Unit 58 board of directors has announced a schedule of meeting dates, with hopes of getting a school budget approved and keeping schools open on July 1.

Based on last week’s budget results, voters will go to the polls on Tuesday with a choice to vote the budget total of $255,964 either up or down.

Originally presented with a $9.4 million proposal, protesters approved only the adult education and debt service payments, reducing other articles to $1. The option to fund a prekindergarten program was voted down.

With 160 employees and 725 students in the district, all would be affected by another inadequate budget, Superintendent Erica Brouillet said.

Under the Maine Constitution, residents of RSU 58 have a legal obligation to pay the education costs of students in the district, as well as employee salaries.

After the May 28 district budget meeting, the board sought legal counsel to determine the appropriate steps to take and agreed to persist with the June 9 date, as directed by Maine statute. At the special Tuesday night board meeting, school board Chairman Dan Worcester and Brouillet said that although they considered withdrawing the May 28 budget, they were advised that there is no state statute to cover that action.


“The school board would like to encourage all voters to turn out to the polls on Tuesday, June 9, to vote ‘no’ on the budget question,” Brouillet said. “This is the appropriate, reasonable and responsible vote regarding the current situation.”

The directors will meet again on Wednesday, June 10, to sign the new warrant. They have scheduled a second budget meeting at 6 p.m., June 22, at Mt. Abram High School and a second budget referendum vote in Kingfield, Strong, Phillips and Avon on Monday, June 29.

Many have asked what would happen if a budget is not approved by July 1, Brouillet said.

The option of reverting to the previous year’s budget no longer exists, she said, “outside of intervention by the commissioner of education and attorney general.”

The original budget of $9.4 million will be presented in the budget meeting and that will become the operating budget as of July 1, if approved by voters on June 29. If voters approve an inadequate budget as of July 1, Brouillet said, no statutes or law exists to cover that situation.

“This would be uncharted territory, and we do not have enough information to know what the actual ramifications would be,” she said. “We are seeking guidance from the commissioner and attorney general to determine what would happen next.”

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: