DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors on Tuesday night again backed a proposed $12.9 million budget for 2019-20.

The budget, if approved by voters next month, would result in a 15.6% increase to property taxes in Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru.

Eight directors voted Tuesday for the proposal, the same as last week, while William Hine of Peru abstained.

Hine proposed reducing the budget to a 4.75% increase from this year, rather than the 5% increase that has been proposed.

The board opted to stay with the 5% increase, even though it failed by 13 votes at the second referendum July 30.

“Even at 0%, our four towns are going to see increases (in taxes) and at 0% we’re decimating our schools,” Superintendent Pam Doyen said. “It would take a 6% (increase) to keep us at a level playing field and we’re looking at a 5% (increase).”

Doyen said along with the increase to the school budget, each town’s valuation has an effect on what taxpayers pay.

A budget hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Dirigo High School in Dixfield, with a vote Tuesday, Sept. 17, in each town.

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