FARMINGTON — Just over 200 Regional School Unit 9 voters set a $32 million budget Tuesday that will now go to voters in a yes or no validation referendum in each of the 10 towns on Tuesday, July 28.

Only two articles passed unanimously in the district-wide vote that lasted an hour. The meeting was moderated by Ronald Aseltine at the Mt. Blue Campus.

The proposed spending plan for 2015-16 is about 3 percent, or $1 million, more than last year.

It is the second attempt for the district to approve a budget. Voters rejected a proposed $32.25 million budget, which was a 3.9 percent, or $1.3 million, increase from 2014-15, in a 741-1,045 vote at the polls in June.

Superintendent Tom Ward explained the state Legislature’s $25 million statewide increase in funding to the General Purpose Aid to Education. It reduced the originally proposed education tax rate of $8.41 per $1,000 of valuation to $8.23 to the towns. The rate is up 13 cents over last year’s rate.

It provides a savings of $301,405 in addition to the school board’s reduction of $206,439 to the budget for an overall savings to the towns of $507,844, Ward said.

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“Our district receives approximately 63 percent of our funding from the state through the essential programs and services model,” Ward said. “In order to receive the state allocation, our towns have to raise 37 percent.”

The concept behind the funding model is that a student should be able to go to school anywhere in the state and have the same educational opportunities whether they live in Cape Elizabeth or Presque Isle, he said.

Voters approved in a 186-18 vote to raise and appropriate $2.1 million in additional local funds, which exceeds the state’s EPS model by $1.58 million. Business Manager Kris Pottle said the yellow newsletter that went out to residents earlier this month contained an error. She was putting together the articles in a newsletter while the lawyers were putting the official warrant together, and when it came back she did not check to make sure they matched. It was her oversight, she said.

The school board recommends the additional funds because the state’s funding model does not fully support all of the necessary costs of a comprehensive kindergarten through grade 12 educational program, according to the explanation below the article.

Those programs not fully supported are athletics and co-curricular program costs, transportation for rural school systems and athletics/co-curricular programs, special education costs and costs of maintaining class sizes smaller than are recognized by the state’s funding model.

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Voting times for RSU 9 towns on Tuesday, July 28:

Chesterville: 1 to 6 p.m., Town Office

Farmington: 12 to 6:30 p.m., Community Center

Industry: 2 to 8 p.m., Town Office

New Sharon: 1 to 6:30 p.m., Town Office

New Vineyard: 3 to 8 p.m., Smith Hall

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Starks: 2 to 8 p.m., Community Center

Temple: 2 to 7 p.m., Town Hall

Vienna: 3 to 8 p.m., Fire Station

Weld: 4 to 8 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Town Office

Wilton: 1 to 7 p.m., Town Office


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