BUCKFIELD — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors Monday approved a $29.94 million budget for 2021-22.

It’s about $500,000 more than this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and represents an average decrease of 2.51% in assessments for Buckfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Sumner.

Informational meetings on the spending plan will be held May 17 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School and May 26 at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, both at 6:30 p.m.

The budget validation referendum will be held in each of the seven towns June 8.

In other business, directors set a goal to have all schools open for full-time, in-person learning Sept. 1. It anticipates the need to continue following the six health and safety guidelines from the Maine Department of Education, including everyone wearing face masks and staying physically distant.

In order to meet those requirements, the district needs more staff and space, Superintendent Deb Alden said. The extra staff and additional building requirements will be paid with COVID-19 emergency relief funds from the Maine Department of Education and the federal government.

At Buckfield, a four-classroom portable building will be added to house sixth-graders from Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner and a double-wide building will be leased for more space for lunch periods.

At Rumford Elementary School and Meroby Elementary School in Mexico, a portable building will be leased to provide space for more students.

At Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, eighth-grade students will be moved into the Mexico Recreation Center building for the school year, allowing more space for fifth, sixth and seventh grades.

At Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, a four-classroom portable building will be leased specifically for English, social studies, math and science classes.

Director Michelle Casey of Buckfield, the only director to vote against fully opening schools for all students this fall, said, “I am not on board with moving the sixth grade (to Buckfield). She said she didn’t understand why they couldn’t be in a portable building at the Sumner school.

Alden said Wednesday that a final decision has not been made on the Buckfield addition.

A community forum to discuss the changes for Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner students will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 4 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School and via Zoom videoconferencing.

A forum for the Rumford and Mexico schools will be held the week of May 12 with the date and time to be announced later, Alden said.

The board also approved two gifts of $10,000 each for the school nutrition department. One was from the Friends of the River Valley group, which is managed by John S. Beliveau, to buy a second van to deliver food to students. The second gift was from Full Plates Full Potential and its executive director, Justin Strasburger. The organization started in 2014 with a goal to end child hunger in Maine.


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