DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday night to present a $12.88 million budget to voters next month.

The amount for 2019-20 is 5% less than the $13.27 million voters rejected June 11. The larger amount would have increased town assessments an average of almost 23%.

The new proposal represents an average increase of 15.84% in assessments to Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru.

Canton was the only town to approve the $13.27 million proposal, which was an 8% increase over current spending.

Superintendent Pam Doyen said Peru officials asked district officials to consider a 5% increase.

Director Tammy Brown of Carthage said her constituents want a 3% increase but may accept 5%.

The lower budget means several cuts, including:

  • A Title 1 educational technician at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru.
  • Some junior varsity sports at Dirigo High School
  • An after-school music program at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School and Dirigo High School
  • Some after-school program money for Dirigo Elementary School.

“I feel like at a 4.9 or 5% budget increase, we’re cutting the things that foster creativity,” Director Marianne Young of Carthage said. “Learning should be fun. We’re cutting all the things that make it fun.”

Director Bruce Ross of Dixfield said, “We brought (the budget) down to bare bones, and we’ve done it without eliminating people, and that’s a main objective.”

A public hearing and vote is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. A validation referendum is set for July 30 in each town.

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Superintendent Pam Doyen. left, of Regional School Unit 56 reviews budget options for the board of directors Tuesday night in Dixfield. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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