FARMINGTON — Superintendent Tina Meserve proposed a $40,000 decrease to the $38.23 million budget for Regional School Unit 9 on Thursday by removing the controversial assistant superintendent position.

Several community members, teachers and board members voiced their concerns about adding the administrative position at Tuesday’s community forum.

“We know that our communities are worried about the bottom line of the budget, and while I hesitate on this because I definitely think that position is in the best interest of the district and in the best interest of the children, I think it may not be worth the challenge that we could potentially have at the budget vote,” Meserve said.

The board approved the 2020-21 budget of $38.19 million and the $465,972 adult education budget.

“Out of 258 schools, we are number 226 in expenditure, so for anybody in our community who thinks we’re overextending, we’re one of the lowest budgets per people of anywhere in the state,” Meserve said. 

Residents in the district towns will vote on the budget July 14, the same day as Maine’s statewide primary election.

There is no districtwide budget meeting this year because of the state’s COVID-19 gathering restriction of no more than 50 people. 

The board also approved Jeffrey Brazee, a technology application instructor in Minneapolis, to fill the technology director position.

“He comes to us with 19 years of related experience, including teaching,” Meserve said. “He was a world language teacher and then a technology instructor, and then most of his experience is as a director or a management level person in technology,” she said as she introduced him to board members over Zoom.

Board members requested an update regarding the resumption of school in the fall, which district Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia will address at the next board meeting after she meets with the educational advisory committee this week.  

“I will be letting the district know how we will be planning on moving forward, but it will involve various committees of our teachers and staff members, as well as surveys over pretty aggressive timelines because we want to be able to make some decisions and give teachers the training and parents training, prior to the start of the school year,” Columbia said.

Meserve added that RSU 9 is receiving guidance from the governor’s office and projections for what the next school year will consist of are changing because the state is constantly adjusting its COVID-19 policies.

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