FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors approved a $32.04 million budget for 2015-16. The weighted vote was 633-339.

The proposal goes to voters at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, at the Forum at the Mt. Blue Campus.

The new amount is about $1 million more than last year.

Voters rejected a $32.25 million spending plan in June, which was up 3.9 percent, or $1.2 million from the 2014-15 budget. Only three of 10 towns approved the referendum measure.

Over the past couple of months, the board cut $206,000 from the first proposal. The district also received word during that time that with the new state budget, the Legislature reduced the education tax rate from $8.41 per $1,000 of property valuation to $8.23. That will mean an overall decrease to the towns of $301,495.83.

The tax rate for education was $8.10 per $1,000 of value for 2014-15. 

Overall, with the reduction and lower education tax rate, it is more than a $500,000 reduction for the towns, Superintendent Tom Ward said Monday.

Some board members spoke in favor of the new proposal, saying directors had worked hard to come up with a lower budget, but they needed to provide a quality education for students. Others said they worked diligently but still could see some areas that could be reduced without affecting core programs.

Opposing the new budget were directors Ross Clair of Chesterville, Cherieann Harrison and Keith Swett, both of Wilton, Jennifer Pooler of New Sharon and Richard Hargreaves of New Vineyard.

Also Tuesday, the board voted to have the budget articles open-ended so amounts can be increased or decreased.

A validation referendum will be held in the 10 towns Tuesday, July 28.

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