CANTON — Canton Selectman Don Hutchins said at Thursday’s select board meeting that Regional School Unit 56’s failure to pass the school budget on its third try in September was “the most frustrating thing” he has seen.

After watching a video of RSU 56 Superintendent Pam Doyen explaining the budget process to date, Hutchins and the other four selectmen agreed they were not happy with the lack of an approved school budget for the district.

Of the four towns of the district, including Carthage, Peru, and Dixfield, Canton is the only town that voted to pass the budget vote each time it was presented, they noted.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dirigo High School, the district will hold its fourth hearing and budget validation on a proposed $12.79 million budget, a 4.1% increase from this year. The district’s first budget proposal of $13.27 million failed by a vote of 485-343 in June.

At Thursday’s select board meeting, selectmen gave their opinions as to why they thought the school budget cuts were detrimental to the district and its communities.

Selectman Scotty Kilbreth said due to the $1.68 million in cuts to the original prepared budget, educators will become “burnt out” from having to take on too many responsibilities and will seek positions elsewhere.

And Selectman Brian Keene said people need to understand their rising taxes are not caused solely by the school budget increases.

“Look at your town,” Keene said. “Look at your other things that go into your tax calculation.”

In other matters, the board voted to authorize a check for $250,000 for the purchase of a 2009 Spartan firetruck, with the funds coming out of the general fund. Fire Chief Jason Vaughan will acquire the truck and drive it back to Canton from Western Pennsylvania.

The board also congratulated Keene and Conant Acre’s Farm on their Supreme Champion prize win awarded for one of their Holstein cows at the Fryeburg Fair this fall.

“She was judged first not only of the Holstein breed but of all the six area breeds she won. This is the first (Holstein cow) that Conant acres has actually bred that carries the Conant Acres prefix to score 95 points,” Keene said.

Also, Selectman Carole Robbins told the board 12 students from Dirigo High School will work in Pine Grove Cemetery as part of a community service day with her and the town’s cemetery cleanup group to clean gravestones and inventory them Friday. In August, Robbins and the cemetery cleanup group reported they had cleaned 250 gravestones at five of the town’s 13 cemeteries.

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Canton Selectmen Don Hutchins, left, Carole Robbins, and Russell Adams discuss their thoughts about town business during their meeting last Thursday. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Canton Selectmen Russell Adams, left, Brian Keene and Scotty Kilbreth talk about the RSU 56 school budget at their meeting last Thursday. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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