Regional School Unit 56 Directors William Hine of Peru and Jennifer Doherty of Carthage began their terms in June and July, respectively. Hine was appointed for one year and Doherty was elected for three years. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

PERU — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors signed warrants Tuesday night for the third referendum on a budget for the current school year.

The board stayed with the $12.9 million proposal rejected in July by Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru voters, 301-314. It represents a 5% increase over the 2018-19 budget and an average 15.6% increase in town assessments.

Directors believe it is not “in the best interest of the students and the educational programs (to make more cuts to the budget),” Director Barry Prescott of Dixfield said at a board meeting earlier this month.

An informational meeting and initial budget vote will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Dirigo High School on Weld Street in Dixfield. A validation referendum will be held in each town Tuesday, Sept. 17.

The first budget proposal of $13.27 million represented an 8% increase from last year’s budget and an average increase in town assessments of nearly 23 percent. Voters rejected it, 343-485.

Residents of the four towns voted in 2016 to leave RSU 10 and form their own district to save money and have more local control.

As of Tuesday, student enrollment totaled 800, said Brian Keene, director of technology. There were 389 at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru, 188 at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield and 223 at Dirigo High School in Dixfield.

Superintendent Pam Doyen said a middle school science and math teacher, and a kindergarten through grade eight music teacher are needed.

“We have secured long-term subs for both of those positions as we continue to post and hopefully hire for those positions,” she said.

In other matters, the board re-elected Barbara Chow of Dixfield as its chairwoman and Deb Mooney of Peru as vice chairwoman.

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