FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors Thursday set a schedule for developing a fourth budget proposal for 2017-18.

A meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Forum at Mt. Blue Campus to begin deliberations. Directors will meet at 5:30 p.m. for an executive session, Superintendent Tom Ward said.

It is hoped a new budget proposal will be approved Sept. 19, but if it is not directors could meet Thursday, Sept. 21, Ward said.

A voter-proposed $32.65 million budget, which was a result of a nearly $1 million reduction from the board’s $33.63 million budget proposal on Sept. 5, failed at a referendum Tuesday.

The fourth districtwide budget vote will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Bjorn Auditorium at Mt. Blue Campus. It will be followed by a yes-or-no referendum Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the polls in each of the 10 district towns.

Directors gave extra time between votes to accommodate absentee ballots.

Director Irving Faunce of Wilton asked Ward to have the administrative team provide the board with a starting point for budget discussions Tuesday.

Board Chairwoman Jennifer Zweig Hebert of Starks gave an overview of the budget history, including the three proposals that have failed since June 13.

She also informed the board and the more than 80 people in attendance that student enrollment in the district is up by 75 students since April, a 3.6 percent increase. Of that number, 12 students require special education services, Zweig Hebert said. 

Two of the 12 students have needs so significant they have to be placed in a private school at a cost of $50,000 each, not including transportation expenses, she said.

A half-time nurse also had to be hired for a student at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington at a cost of $26,000.

As of Thursday, the student population is 2,373, Business Manager Kristine Pottle said after the meeting.

NOTE: The story has been changed to reflect the correct day of the RSU 9 district-wide bidget vote on Wednesday, Oct. 11.  It was a reporting error.

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More than 80 people turned out to an Regional School Unit 9 board meeting Tuesday at Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington following the failure of a third attempt to reach a budget. The board will begin the fourth budget process at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Mt. Blue Campus. 

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