LIVERMORE — Cutting the $1.1 million increase in the 2023-24 budget proposed for Regional School Unit 73 would mean losing positions, board Chairman Robert “Bob” Staples told directors Thursday night.

The $23.3 million proposal is a 4.92% increase over this year’s $22.2 million.

Staples said cutting it would be “the worst for our students.”

Referring to Pixelle closing its paper mill this week, former board member Shari Ouellette of Jay said, “We have lost our mill. I would like to know what your plan is going forward.”

She asked if there was anything planned to help with the budget.

“The budget is what we have proposed,” Superintendent Scott Albert said, and it’s the board’s decision to bring it to taxpayers.


He said the proposal would increase the school portion of taxes for all three district towns : Livermore Falls 2.87%, Livermore 5.07% and Jay 5.63%.

Jay’s property taxes are going up because it was approved for decreases in valuation by $201.1 million each for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 through Maine Sudden and Severe Disruption of Valuation program, Albert said. While Jay’s taxes are up this year, they are still lower than the two years before, he said.

The state is picking up about 69.3% of the district’s budget to offset changes in valuation, Albert added.

“My degree is in rural economic development,” board Vice Chairman Robin Beck of Livermore Falls said. “If you want to develop your area, if you want to improve your area, the first place to improve on is your school system. If you want to draw people that have money that will start businesses, you have to have the school system,” she said.

“I know this budget is going up,” Beck said. “It’s my view that it’s not going up enough. We need to pay our teachers what they are worth. If Jay, Livermore Falls and Livermore want us to increase the worth of these towns, they need to vote yes on this budget.”

“We went through (the budget) very thoroughly (and) want to have a certain standard,” Director Chantelle Woodcock of Jay said. “Our teachers do not make enough. I don’t know how you could be able to cut anything and still function where we want to be.”


She asked what other districts are cutting in their budgets.

Albert said many districts are behind RSU 73 in the budget-setting process and he wasn’t sure of actual numbers.

Woodcock said costs for paper, fuel and insurance have risen, and the budget is not filled with frills.

“I don’t want a rumor mill to start that we are raising our budget and everyone else is cutting,” she said.

“Some districts are hurting,” Albert said. “We got a lot more (money) from the state, which definitely helped.” Student population in some districts has dropped, has stayed steady in RSU 73 and in Lisbon has increased, which has provided more state money towards their budget, he noted.

It is so easy to say cut the budget, Woodcock said. When looking at every number and position, it is neighbors, friends and teachers being affected, she said.


“When you are talking about $1.3 million in cuts, who else, what is the job to make that happen, is where my mind is at,” she said.

The schedule of budget meetings is:

• March 16, 6 p.m., Spruce Mountain High School, directors approve and sign warrants.

• April 6, 6 p.m., Spruce Mountain High School, district budget meeting for voters to ask questions about each article before voting on it.

• April 25, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at polling places in the three towns, vote on whether to pass the budget.

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