BUCKFIELD — A hearing on the proposed $29.4 million budget for Regional School Unit 10 this week drew questions about the $1.5 million increase from this fiscal year, which ends Tuesday.

Lenny Eichman of Hartford asked if an effort was made to keep spending at this year’s $27.9 million.

“In order to flat-fund the budget we would have to reduce the number of teaching staff that we have … that’s very hard to do if your student population isn’t reducing,” Superintendent Deb Alden said Wednesday when she and some directors met at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School and others and the public participated via Zoom.

“If the budget process had been conducted after the virus started in late January, would there have been more of an effort to keep the budget flat as opposed to a 5.5% increase?” Richard Dyer asked.

“Yes,” Alden responded, “however, I’m going to be cautious because I still know that we have the same amount of students with the same amount of needs. And we have negotiated contracts that we have to honor. Those things would not change.”

Assessments for Buckfield, Mexico, Rumford and Sumner would drop under the proposal, while Hanover, Hartford and Roxbury would see increases. The average for the seven towns is a decrease of 1.36%

“Some of the negative impacts on our budget is that we have seven aging buildings to maintain to educate our roughly 1,800 students,” Alden said. Increases in the 2020-21 budget include class instruction, capital improvement, and social-emotional mental health, she said.

The board of directors will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford and be streamed live on RSU 10 Facebook page.

The school budget vote will be held July 14 at polling stations in the seven towns.

[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: