RUMFORD — Regional School Unit 10 Business Manager Leah Kaulback told directors Monday night that the proposed budget increase of $854,292 for 2021-22 includes contracted pay raises and a possible 10% increase in insurance premiums.

The increase is 2.9% more than the $29.44 million voters approved for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The 2021-22 budget proposal is $30.30 million.

“Administrators worked so hard to not have increases for the taxpayers,” she said.

Budget discussions will continue in coming months. A timeline of budget meetings and locations is listed online at

In other business, directors approved of elementary students who attend in-person classes to do so on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The new schedule begins March 24 at Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner, Meroby Elementary School in Mexico and Rumford Elementary School .

Since the beginning of the school year, Wednesdays have been a fully remote learning day for all students, allowing teachers time for lesson planning and connecting with parents and students who are full-time virtual learners.

The school board also added a plan that allows each of the district’s six schools to create their own schedule based on students’ needs.

Before the board approved the in-person change, teachers Kristin Allen and Natalie Simmons spoke against it. Simmons, a teacher and parent of a student, said, “The effect that this change will have on parents and students will be decidedly adverse and this change will cause undue stress in an already difficult time for students and parents alike.”

Allen, a health teacher and parent of two students, said loss of planning time was a major factor in returning elementary school students to in-person learning Wednesdays.

“Another thing that came up (among teachers) is that we’re in a routine; even though it’s not the greatest routine it is a routine and it’s predictable and so to disrupt that (would cause problems),” Allen said.

Superintendent Deb Alden told directors a significant problem with bringing students back to classrooms is the required 3- to 6-foot distance between students and staff, which is expected to continue into September.

“I’ve been told by the Department of Education that those six (coronavirus) guidelines, one of which is space, if we follow that guideline as they say, we can’t get more kids into many of our rooms,” she said. Because of those requirements, the district will look into more portable buildings and more staff will be required for those areas, she said.

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