Sarah Keene of Canton, right, casts a vote on the $12.9 million RSU 56 budget at the Town Office Tuesday. Her daughter Elizabeth, 3, is greeted by Administrative Assistant Tina Cagle. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

The Regional School Unit 56 budget failed to pass Tuesday for a third time this year by a vote of 424 yes to 479 no.

Results were: Dixfield, 199-181; Carthage, 29-59; Canton, 83-27; and Peru, 113-212.

“Although the failure of the budget is disappointing, I have complete faith in the staff and communities to continue to put students first, Superintendent Pam Doyen said.

“RSU 56 is committed to providing a quality education for our students. The administrative team and school board will begin work on a fourth-round budget,” she said.

The board of directors opted to stay with the $12.9 million proposal rejected in July by a vote of 314-301 in the four towns. It represents a 5% increase over the 2018-19 budget and an average 15.6% increase in town assessments.

The board stuck with the 5% increase because “they felt strongly that moving below the 5% budget-to-budget increase would seriously compromise the integrity of our programs,” Doyen said during a budget hearing last week.

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

During the budget hearing and vote last week some voters questioned how people would be able to afford their homes if the budget keeps rising, while others said the 5% increase was needed to support the schools and give students a good education.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: