DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 directors chose to close the district’s central office, which is currently being used by Regional School Unit 10 administrators and which also houses the community Wellness Center, in order to approve a $13.2 million budget Tuesday.

The new RSU 56 encompasses the towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru and begins services July 1. The four towns withdrew from the original 12-town RSU 10 in November.

Interim Superintendent Brenda Gammon said on Wednesday that RSU 56 administrators would most likely be housed in various locations, such as a portable office near Dirigo High School and in the middle school and the elementary school.

RSU 10 administrators will remain in the building until Aug. 1.

Board members adopted the budget over another lesser option of $13.1 million by a vote of 8 to 3. The lesser budget would have completely cut both the middle and high schools’ industrial arts program, but the greater budget brought back the program in whole to the two schools.

Major cuts to the budget were: the alternative education program at Dirigo High School, $50,000; a Special Education position at Dirigo Elementary School, $50,000; teacher leaders at all three schools, $26,384; no expanded pre-kindergarten at DES, $64,000; all JV sports at DMS and DHS, $17,090; and the guidance program at DMS, $68,280.

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The guidance program was initially for pre-k to grade 5, with a separate program for grades 6 to 8. It will be recreated as one kindergarten through grade 8 program.

The music programs at DHS were cut at a cost of $25,000 for a music teacher, and a DMS teacher position was also cut for the same amount. Two separate music programs were consolidated into one for kindergarten through grade 8.

The $785,951 cost for educators’ summer salaries for the year 2018 was also cut from the budget.

A May 23 school board meeting to sign warrants is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at DHS, and a May 30 public hearing for the budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. at DHS.

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Dirigo High School in Dixfield.

Attending a recent RSU 56 Board of Directors meeting, from left to right, are Mark Thompson of Peru, Mark and Kim Bolduc of Dixfield, and Rebecca and Craig Coulthard of Dixfield. Mark Bolduc asked board members “if there may be a mechanism to go back to rejoin RSU 10 for the year 2018-19.”


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