FARMINGTON – Regional School Unit 9 directors Tuesday were presented a $35.32 million budget for 2018-19 and were told money is needed for another teacher at Cascade Brook School in Farmington.

The preliminary spending plan represents an increase of $1.68 million, or 5.01 percent, from this year. A total of $13 million is projected to be raised by taxes in the 10 district towns.

The revenue side of the budget includes money to be given in January by Richard Bjorn of Farmington, owner of Kyes Insurance. It is to be paid over two years for programs at the Foster Career and Technical Education Center.

If $288,473 of the $470,000 that Bjorn has donated is deducted from the budget, the increase would be 4.16 percent, according to Superintendent Tom Ward. The same amount, $288,473, need be listed in the expenses side of the budget so it can be spent.

There is also revenue to help offset expenses for special education, debt service and Foster Tech programs. The district will receive an additional $181,341 from the state for career and technical education programs.

If $316,000 proposed for an elementary-level alternative education program was taken out of the budget, the increase would be 3.21 percent for the next fiscal year.

Prior to the budget presentation, four third-grade teachers at Cascade Brook School said a fifth, full-time teacher is needed because third-grade classes have 25 to 26 students each this year.

“This has critically impacted the academic, social, and emotional growth of these students,” according to a letter to the board signed by all Cascade teachers.

There are five teachers for the fourth and fifth grades at the school.

The W.G. Mallett School in Farmington has five second-grade teachers. Second-graders will move to Cascade Brook next year.

Though it’s projected that there will be 92 third-graders next year, teachers said it is not an accurate representation of class sizes once school begins. Last June there were 99 students who were moving up to third grade, but the final number of 111.

The estimated $52,000 for salary and benefits for another third-grade teacher is not included in the preliminary budget.

The board will start reviewing budgets for each of the schools at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, and Thursday, March 29, in the Forum at Mt. Blue Campus. Budget meetings are also scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 3, 5, 10 and 12 at the campus. The annual districtwide budget vote is scheduled for May 1 and budget referendum for May 15.

There are no board meetings scheduled the week of April 16 during school vacation.

Directors said Tuesday that they will work to make the budget easier for voters to understand and make budgets available at each board meeting and at the Central Office. Once a final budget is drafted, it will be sent to town offices and libraries.

It took four referendums last year to pass a $33.63 million budget, which was $887,984 more than the year before. The school board used an additional $729,000 in state aid to lower the town assessments, Ward said.

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