DIXFIELD — The $12.97 million budget for Regional School Unit 56 was approved by a vote of 689-583 on Tuesday.

The 2020-21 budget is $260,000 more than the previous fiscal year that ended June 30 and represents a 2.02% increase.

Results for the four towns were: Canton, 148-74; Carthage, 38-80; Dixfield, 272-196; and Peru, 231-233.

The budget will reestablish a music program at Dirigo High School, help fund an Interact Club at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School and pay for a six-hour-a-day van driver to take students to Margaret Murphy centers in Auburn mornings and afternoons.

Tax assessments to three of the four towns will drop, Superintendent Pam Doyen said at the district’s budget hearing earlier this month. Canton, Dixfield and Peru would see lower assessments, while Carthage’s contribution would go up by almost 23% because of its wind power projects, she said.

Other budget factors include more state funding and $47,331 from the Maine Department of Education because the district is part of a regional service center where districts share services such as programming, business, transportation and administration.

“It is nice to have an approved budget on the first attempt this year,” Doyen said Wednesday. “This will allow us to focus on the educational, social and emotional needs of our students without the distraction of additional budget rounds.

“I commend the administrative team for bringing forth a fiscally responsible budget that the board and the communities could support.”

It took five attempts to pass the district’s 2019-20 budget; the $12.71 million budget was passed in January, four months after the start of the school year.

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