RUMFORD — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors Monday night reviewed a $30.94 million budget that would raise assessments to the seven district towns an average of 1.89%.

The proposed budget is about $1 million more than this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Directors are planning to vote on the 2022-23 spending plan May 2 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Voters from Buckfield, Hanover, Hartford, Mexico, Roxbury, Rumford and Sumner will have the final say at the polls June 14.

School Nutrition Director Jeanne LaPointe reviewed her budget during the meeting at Mountain Valley High School, saying, “We’re waiting for information from the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) as to how we’re planning to fund nutrition programming for school year 2023.”

She said her department was “hoping for waivers.”

The first COVID-19 aid package gave the Department of Agriculture the authority to waive a slew of regulations, allowing schools for the first time to serve free meals to all students, regardless of income.

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Last month, the U.S. Congress rejected requests to continue the waivers and left that money out of a $1.5 trillion spending package that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, 2022, according to The Times Record in Brunswick.

The authority for the waivers ends June 30.

LaPointe said another bill to reinstate them could “allow us meal flexibilities and additional reimbursement.”

Lapointe said the district “is not really receiving any more daily revenue because meals are free. “All our revenue will be from federal or state (funding),” she said.

Business Manager Leah Kaulback said a $51,000 contribution for the nutrition program will be requested from taxpayers, the same amount as last year.

“Free meals for all is really such a positive,” LaPointe said. Children don’t have to worry about what others might think of them for needing free meals or if there is money in their parents’ accounts for their meals, she said.

In another matter, Wendy Ducas, a 2019 graduate of Mountain Valley High School and a substitute teacher, presented information on improvements to the school’s Muskie Auditorium. The board approved the creation of a coordination team to pursue grants and to make decisions on which projects will be undertaken.

“The project I’m working on is a much-needed update to the facility, which includes but isn’t limited to replacement of the curtains, modernizing inefficient and limited stage lighting and production systems, installing a sound system and resurfacing the stage floor,” Ducas said.

The project is intended to be financed with grants and, if matching funds are required, money raised locally.


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