DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors Tuesday unanimously approved a $12.97 million budget, the same amount as last year, Superintendent Pam Doyen said.

For 2021-22 there were savings on health insurance and sending district students to the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico. The latter is $82,203, which is $21,438 less than anticipated.

Those savings allowed for an administrative assistant at Dirigo Middle School and a math team coach at Dirigo High School, Doyen said.

A budget validation meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, at Dirigo High School, followed by a vote at polling stations in Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru on June 8.

In other business, Doyen said all Dirigo High School students and staff worked remotely this week because of the number of staff quarantined because of potential exposure to COVID-19.

“We had one positive case and it initially resulted in 12 staff and 42 students being identified as close contacts,” Doyen said. “With that number of staff out we simply could not hold in-person schooling safely. We couldn’t put a person in every room that we needed to have.”

Also on Tuesday, the board approved Cody St. Germain’s request to raise money for a basketball court at 33 Nash St., part of the school property in Dixfield. The high school basketball coach said he estimates the cost of a full-size court is between $25,000 and $30,000. He said he will not ask the district to include the money in its budget.

“I’ve always thought that for a town that loves their basketball as much as Dixfield, Carthage, Canton and Peru does, that there is no basketball court for the youth around here to play on,” Germain said.

Board Director Angela Cushman of Peru praised Germain’s efforts saying, “He’s come back to this area, he lives here, he’s being a part of the school, he’s being a part of the community and he’s looking out for the future of our community and our school district. So, I’m very proud of you, Cody.”

Also, following an executive session, directors ratified a contract with buildings, grounds and transportation personnel for 2021-24.

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