WALES — Thirty-seven voters Wednesday approved a proposed Regional School Unit 4 budget of $18.80 million for fiscal year 2016-17.

The budget is $100,000 less than the one voters rejected in June.

A referendum on the budget will be held from from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at town offices in Sabattus, Litchfield and Wales.

Except for board Chairman Joan Thomas, all board members were in attendance.

Reductions in the budget include:

• $20,000 from projected workers’ compensation benefits;

• $10,000 in retirement benefits;

• $10,000 in technology contracts that came in lower than anticipated;

• $29,000 in originally projected salaries; and

• $30,000 from the reduction of a currently vacant social studies position.

Sabattus resident Robert Ayotte requested a breakdown of the costs included in the article calling for $2.19 million for facilities maintenance.

Glen Reynolds, director of operations for RSU 4, said it includes heating fuel, filter changes, custodial supplies, upkeep of grounds, plowing, mowing, minor roof repairs and replacing broken windows.

The roof at Oak Hill High School is in need of replacement, Reynolds said, and the district will apply for assistance from the state for this because it is not included in the 2016-17 budget. The article passed unopposed. 

The board recommended raising and appropriating $2.6 million in additional local funds to support the budget, which exceeds the state’s funding model by $2.28 million, to fund extra- and co-curricular programs and administrative costs which are no longer covered due to a reduction in state funding.

David Blocher of Litchfield’s Budget Committee made a motion to decrease the amount to $2.5 million. His motion was seconded. 

A Wales resident motioned to change the number back to the original amount of $2.6 million.

Board Chairman Robert English motioned to change the amount by $1,000 from the original proposal.

The original amount of $2.6 million passed by a vote of 28-9.


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