FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors approved a budget calendar and process Tuesday evening that puts it on track for the annual districtwide budget meeting vote May 26, followed by a referendum June 9.

Voters approved a $37.73 million budget for 2019-20 last June.

The draft 2020-21 budget will be developed by the budget committee and presented to the full board during a special board meeting April 7. The board followed this process in the development of the current budget.

Superintendent Tina Meserve said the district is anticipating an increase in the state subsidy due to an increase in enrollment and favorable local valuations.

“We are going to get an additional $226,000 from the state because we joined Western Maine Regional Service Center last year,” Meserve said. “We will also likely have a nice reduction in utilities.”

The proposed state budget includes an increase in the subsidy for administration.

Kris Pottle, the distrcit’s business manager, told the board there have been changes in how career and technical education centers were funded by the state.

“This is an unknown right now,” Pottle said. “We don’t know the amount of funding we are getting.”

Insurance rates are projected to increase by 10% due to two open claims, she added.

“Summer salaries of $80,000 will go into this budget,” she said.

Wage increases, teacher contract negotiations and step increases would also need to be factored into the budget.

“It’s not all good news, but it’s not all bad news,” Meserve said.

Budget committee meetings will start Feb. 26 with a full-day presentation of all education programs in the district, including instruction, special education, career and technical education and school administration.

Presentations of other line items, including student and staff support, technology, system administration, transportation, facilities, debt and adult education, will be conducted March 6.
The presentation meetings are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

The budget committee will meet March 26 to finalize the draft budget.

Meserve said she will present the proposed budget to the community during a forum scheduled for April 14.

The board is expected to review and adopt a final budget April 28.

The May 26 budget meeting and vote is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Bjorn Auditorium.

All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum, unless otherwise noted.

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