SALEM TOWNSHIP — Voters swiftly passed a $9.3 million Regional School District 58  school budget Monday night, nearly two weeks after overwhelmingly rejecting a similar amount.

Voters gathered at Mt. Abram High School on Monday and seemed to understand that if the budget did not pass, the district faced a possible shutdown at the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year on July 1.

On July 9, voters in Avon, Kingfield, Phillips and Strong reduced the $9.43 million budget to $255,955, addressing only debt service obligations on Maine municipal bond bank loans for building construction, and $6,000 for the district’s share of the adult education program run by RSU 9 in Farmington. Voters approved either $1 or no dollars for all other warrant articles.

Now, the budget will go to voters at the polls Monday, June 29.

The $9.3 million budget is 3.7 percent more than this fiscal year.

On Monday, voters were asked to approve $192,000 to start a prekindergarten program in Strong, Phillips and Kingfield elementary schools. Superintendent Erica Brouillet has calculated that the additional state subsidy the district will receive will allow the program to pay for itself starting in its second year of operation.


Incoming Superintendent Sue Pratt asked that the amount be amended to $180,033, which would cut $12,000 without cutting the program’s services.

Approximately one half of the prekindergarten program’s initial costs, Pratt said, would be reimbursed the first year. Each year after that, the state subsidies will be more than the program costs to run.

“About $84,000 would be reimbursed after the first year,” she said.

There are 270 prekindergarten programs operating in the state, Pratt said.

Money will be disbursed at the state level, and she suggested that the investment this coming year will show a return over the next 13 years the youngsters will be in the school system.

“The earlier you intervene, the less you will spend in special education programs and other services over the years,” she said.


Phillips resident Eric Kinney suggested the continual tax increases were a significant deterrent to prospective homebuyers.

“Taxes are too high,” he said. “We just can’t afford it.”

Voters approved funding the program, 92-3.

Towns will be assessed more in 2015-16: Avon an extra $11,588; Kingfield an extra $10,360; Phillips an extra $19,642; and Strong an extra $21,421.

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