LIVERMORE — The Regional School Unit 73 board of directors approved an $18.8 million budget Tuesday night that, if accepted by voters, would lower town assessments for 2018-19.

The budget is $749,907 more than the 2017-18 spending plan, yet the $9.44 million to be raised through taxes is $1.44 million less than in 2017-18.

Under the proposal, Jay’s assessment would be $5.70 million, a decrease of $1.39 million; Livermore’s would be nearly $1.96 million, down $41,300; and Livermore Falls’ would be nearly $1.78 million, down $7,971.

A public hearing on the spending plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 5 at Spruce Mountain Middle School, 23 Community Drive in Jay. The validation referendum is scheduled for April 24 at town polling stations.

Superintendent Kenneth Healey told the board he is proposing to eliminate the one-hour late start every Wednesday and, instead, have classes released two hours early a couple opf days a month, except June.

“Eliminating late-start Wednesdays and adding alternating early releases equates to the same amount of professional development time but in two-hour blocks,” Healey said.

Early-release days would be the first and third Wednesdays in September, first and third Thursdays in October, the first and third Tuesdays in November, the first and third Fridays in December, the first and third Wednesdays in January, the first and fourth Tuesdays in February, the first and third Thursdays in March, the first and fourth Fridays in April, the first and third Mondays in May and the first Thursday in June.

Healey said RSU 73 students attending Foster Technical Career and Education Center programs in Farmington would stay at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay for an hour before they go to Farmington because the center has a late start on Wednesdays. They will return to Jay in time for buses to take them home.

“They wouldn’t lose any class time,” Healey said.

Director Joel Pike asked if there have been discussions with parents.

“There have not,” Healey said. “I believe as long as it’s done in advance and parents know what the calendar will be it should work.”

Pike said he would like feedback from parents.

Director Ann Schwab said: “As a parent, I had no idea when late arrival started. I really would have appreciated more notice. It’s great for teachers to have blocks of time. As a parent, the randomness could be a challenge.”

Healey said the schedule is to make sure students are  not losing instruction time.

The pre-kindergarten program would not change because there are no classes Wednesday.

The calendar discussion is scheduled to continue at the April 12 board meeting.

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Regional School Unit 73 directors approved an $18.8 million budget Tuesday night, ready to send it to a public hearing April 5. Directors, from left, are Dale Leblanc, Orion Schwab, Sarah Hughes, Shari Ouellette, Tammy Frost, Michael Morrell and Chairman Denise Rodzen, Superintendent Kenneth Healey, Directors Doug DiPasquale, Scott Jackson, Shannon McDaniel, Ann Schwab and Joel Pike. Directors Alphonso Barker, Robert Staples and Holly Richards were absent. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

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