DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 budget failed to pass at the polls Tuesday, 656-612.

It was the fourth time it’s been rejected by voters of the four district towns.

The latest proposal of $12.79 million for 2019-20 is 4.1% higher than in 2018-19 and represents an average increase of 13.64% in town assessments.

Results were: Carthage, 49-79; Peru, 167-255; Dixfield 269-239; and Canton, 127-83.

In an email Tuesday night, Superintendent Pam Doyen said, “These results are highly discouraging. I know that the communities are struggling with increased valuations and decreased school subsidy which results in increased taxes; however, I also feel certain that they do not want to decimate their schools. The Dirigo communities have, historically, supported their schools and we will continue to work together to find a solution to this current budget impasse.”

The original proposal of $13.27 million was rejected June 11, the second proposal of $12.9 million was rejected July 30, and the third proposal of $12.9 million was rejected Sept. 17.

Because the district did not have an approved budget to start the new fiscal year July 1, it has been legally operating at spending levels that represent about a 4% increase from 2018-19, Doyen said last week.

Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru withdrew from RSU 10 in 2016 in an effort to gain local control and save money.

According to Doyen, state funding for RSU 56 is down $289,577 this year from last year.

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