Brad Conant, Dirigo High School Speech and Debate Team adviser, addresses Regional School Unit 56 directors Tuesday at the school in Dixfield. The board approved the team competing in a national tournament in Washington, D.C. next month. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

DIXFIELD — The Regional School Unit 56 board of directors approved a budget of $13.21 million for the school year 2022-23 on Tuesday at Dirigo High School. The amount is a 1.85% increase from this year’s $12.97 million.

The district will hold a budget information meeting May 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the high school and a final vote June 14 at polling stations in Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru.

Superintendent Pam Doyen said the district received “about $800,000 over last year’s state subsidies,” and health insurance costs have not increased for next year. “So that was a huge celebration this week,” she said.

Canton’s contribution for the next fiscal year will go up 3.52%, while Carthage’s will drop by 10.72%, Dixfield’s by 9.55% and Peru’s by 7.48%, if the budget is approved by voters.

In other business, the board approved a warrant article that would transfer up to $500,000 from fund balances to the capital reserve fund to build a bus garage. The estimated cost for the garage is just over $1 million, Doyen said.

The garage would be built in the storage lot area at the entrance of T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield, she said.

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“We clearly do not have that kind of money to put right now into a bus garage,” she said, but encouraged the board to approve the transfer.

“We’ll keep adding to it until we can afford to put it back with no additional expenditures going out to our four towns,” Doyen said.

The district leases space for buses from Dixfield.

In other news, the board approved a trip and a fundraiser for seven students on the high school Speech and Debate team, along with seven adults, to attend the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament in Washington, D.C., May 28-30. Team adviser Brad Conant said four students will compete.

The estimated cost is between $4,325 and $4,570, and includes transportation and tournament fees. The group also plans to visit an amusement park and raise the money for it.


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