WALES — Voters from Sabattus, Wales and Litchfield approved a $22.38 million budget for Regional School Unit 4 on Wednesday night, sending it to a validation vote June 13.

The special education budget was reduced by $70,000 — roughly the same amount of the reduced state allocation to the school district. The proposal was for $4.68 million, an increase of $687,236 (17.2%) over last year.

During public discussion on Article 2 to authorize expenditures for special education, Superintendent Katy Grondin cautioned that reducing the amount would put the district out of compliance with federal rules.

The budget was raised significantly this year because the Maine Department of Education requires the district to pay 100% of the cost of out-of-district and private schooling for special education students. Grondin also warned that the towns could still be liable for any extra costs.

All other articles were approved.

“Overall, we are pleased that the school budget was approved as presented and we will need to monitor the impact of the $70,000 reduction to our special education budget next year,” Grondin said Thursday.


Tom Wood, chairman of the Litchfield Budget Committee, expressed disappointment that they were not able to muster enough votes from Litchfield residents to limit the increase to 5%, adding that Litchfield residents are now looking at an approximately 12% increase over last year.

“The overall increase is just too much,” he said Thursday. “Litchfield is going to be a hard sell at the election on June 13 and will push up the (tax) rates in all three towns.”

Wood offered praise for Grondin’s efforts to keep the process transparent by holding briefings with select board members, town managers and budget committees from all three towns starting in March. He added that the data was available and updated online, allowing people to better understand the budget process.

The estimated annual increases in the 2023-24 educational assessments for each town are:

A home valued at $100,000: Litchfield, $132.71; Sabattus, $184.37; Wales, $165.18.

A home valued at $150,000: Litchfield, $199.06; Sabattus, $276.56; Wales, $247.77.

A home valued at $200,000: Litchfield, $265.42; Sabattus, $368.74; Wales, $330.36.

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