FARMINGTON — It took four proposed budget amounts, several amendments and a lot of mixed votes Tuesday for Regional School Unit 9 directors to pass a proposed $33.89 million budget. The weighted vote was 583-200.

The spending plan will go before voters at 7 p.m. May 31 at Mt. Blue Campus. Whatever is approved then will go to voters in each of the 10 towns in a validation referendum June 13.

A public hearing on a capital projects bond proposal and an informational meeting on the proposed budget will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at Mt. Blue Campus.

The school board still doesn’t know how much additional revenue the district will receive from the state because the Legislature has not set a budget. Officials expect the district to receive $436,413 in additional revenue.

If the Legislature puts back 50 percent of system administration, it means $500,000 more in anticipated revenue, Superintendent Tom Ward said. The governor’s budget proposal removed it from the state’s funding formula. The district could receive $500,000 or more if system administration is restored to the formula and more money is added to General Purpose Aid to Education.

Ward’s goal has been to have a budget with no overall increase in town assessments.

The budget proposal passed Tuesday night represents a 3.51 percent — $1.14 million — increase over the current budget.

A budget proposal of $34 million, which was 4.37 percent, or, $1.4 million higher, failed Tuesday.

Director Cherieann Harrison of Wilton said the board had deliberated on the positions that administrators said were needs but were left out of the preliminary budget. The board felt “pretty strongly” about the added positions on April 27, she said.

Director Betsey Hyde of Temple said she didn’t think it was responsible to have a budget with a 4.37 percent increase and wanted one with less than a 3 percent increase.

“We need everything (listed),” Director Angie LeClair of Wilton said. She said she had hoped to know what anticipated revenues were. She supported administrators’ top priorities and hoped more funding was received to support a second set of priorities.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, administrators went back and prioritized the needs the board added last week.

When administrators met, they first expressed appreciation for the board supporting the district’s needs, said Leanne Condon, curriculum director/assistant superintendent.

“We are very, very thankful,” she said. “Then our next talking point was, ‘Is this budget going to pass?’”

The priorities directors approved were three additional social workers for general education students, and a half-time guidance position at Mt. Blue Campus. They also cut the proposed special education contingency to $100,000.

They removed $54,992 from the proposed contingency to cover the addition of a half-time American Sign Language teaching position to make it full time and a half-time science position at Mt. Blue Campus.

That leaves $115,000 in the overall contingency.

Directors eliminated funding for the International Student Program at Mt. Blue Campus. The district invested $60,000 over three years into the program to bring in tuition-paying students from other countries.

Voting in favor of the proposed 2017-18 budget were Directors Iris Silverstein, Tami Labul and Doug Dunlap, all of Farmington, Angie LeClair and Cherieann Harrison, both of Wilton, Chairwoman Jennifer Zweig Hebert of Starks, Jennifer Pooler of New Sharon, Helen Wilkey of Vienna and Richard Hargreaves of New Vineyard.

Opposing were Directors Craig Stickney of Chesterville, Nancy Crosby of Weld, Vice Chairwoman Betsey Hyde of Temple and Keith Swett of Wilton.

Directors Ryan Morgan and Scott Erb, both of Farmington, and Robert Patterson of Industry were absent.

Directors also approved a $420,991 adult education budget with the local allocation listed at $158,661, a $4,679 increase.

They agreed to put a bond proposal before voters for capital improvement projects costing $317,883, not including interest, to be paid over 10 years.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. 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: