PARIS — Voters in the Oxford Hills School District will decide whether to support a $39.68 million school budget Thursday, June 8.

The districtwide meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Forum in Paris.

Voters in School Administrative District 17 will be asked to approve exceeding the Essential Programs and Services funding by $1.09 million and use any additional state subsidy to pay for educational programs, facility needs, reduce local taxes and other measures.

The budget validation referendum will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at polling stations in Norway, Paris, Oxford, Otisfield, Harrison, Waterford, West Paris and Hebron.

The budget is a 1.73 percent increase over last year.

“The proposed school budget represents a balance between forwarding the school’s mission and strategic plan and the taxpayer’s expectation that their limited resources will be allocated to the most pressing needs,” Superintendent Rick Colpitts said. “The board’s efforts to address this balance has been made more difficult by the continued expectation of the governor and Legislature that the local taxpayers should assume a greater share of the cost to educate students.”

Colpitts said, “It is vital that the community participate in both the budget meeting on June 8 and the school referendum on June 13 to validate this work and permit the district to move forward.”

Higher costs in the budget include:

• $500,000, or 2.5 percent, in negotiated pay increases;

• $789,000, or 15 percent, in special education;

• $475,000, or 8.065 percent, in health insurance;

• $42,000 in reading curriculum; 

• $30,000 for professional development in the Gifted and Talented program; and

• $55,000 to bring back full-time principals at Hebron Station and Agnes Gray Elementary School in West Paris, one additional bus purchase.

The budget does not include money to restore full-time principals at Harrison Waterford and Otisfield elementary schools, some facilities improvements, additional teachers to reduce class sizes, and more nursing services.

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