Residents in Regional School Unit 56 vote Tuesday on a $13.21 million budget at a meeting at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. A second vote on the 2022-23 budget will be held June 14 at polling stations in Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

DIXFIELD — Voters at the Regional School Unit 56 annual budget meeting Tuesday approved a $13.21 million spending plan for 2022-23. They also approved up to $112,000 for a new bus and moving up to $500,000 to a capital reserve account for a new bus garage.

Twenty-one residents from Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru passed all 22 articles in little more than half an hour. David Duguay of Byron moderated the meeting at Dirigo High School. District employees Tricia Fletcher and Julie Couture were elected as ballot clerks.

The budget for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1 is $240,361 more than this year’s $12.97 million. Negotiated increases in salaries are estimated at $85,983, with most employee groups receiving a 2% pay increase, while teachers and administrators will receive 3.2% and 2.5% increases, respectively.

There are also increases for out-of-district placement for special education students, building insurance, heating oil, gas and diesel fuel.

Superintendent Pam Doyen the “good news” is state funding has increased by almost $800,000 from this fiscal year and employee health insurance costs did not rise.



David Duguay of Byron stands at the podium Tuesday night to moderate the Regional School Unit 56 annual budget meeting at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. From left are Director Natalie Sneller of Canton, Duguay, Secretary Cathy Arsenault, Superintendent Pam Doyen, Dixfield Directors Barbara Chow, Tim Kelly, Angela Varnum and Larry Whittington, and Carthage Directors Don Whittemore and Marianne Young. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

If the budget passes a second vote June 14 in each of the towns, Canton’s assessment would rise 3.52%, while Carthage’s will drop 10.72%, Dixfield’s drop by 9.55% and Peru’s drop by 7.48%.

Residents authorized transferring up to $500,000 from fund balances to the capital reserve fund to build a bus garage, which Doyen previously estimated would cost just over $1 million. It would be built in the storage lot area at the entrance of T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield, she said.

Voters also approved spending up to $112,000 to purchase a school bus.

Directors attending Tuesday’s meeting were Natalie Sneller of Canton; Chairwoman Barbara Chow, Tim Kelly, Angela Varnum and Larry Whittington, all of Dixfield; and Don Whittemore and Marianne Young, both of Carthage. Absent were Angela Cushman and Konstantin Aslanidi, both of Peru, Bruce Ross of Dixfield and Carl Lueders of Canton.

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