WALES — Voters in Sabattus, Wales and Litchfield rejected a $22.38 million budget for Regional School Unit 4 on Tuesday by more than a 2-1 ratio. The combined total was 225 yes and 512 no.

The vote forces the school board and district officials to restart the approval process.

The budget, which was initially approved by voters at a districtwide meeting in May, was just over a 5.2% increase over this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The town tallies were: Wales, 42 yes, 45 no; Litchfield, 128 yes, 335 no; and Sabattus, 55 yes and 132 no.

Voters narrowly approved a School Revolving Renovation Fund, 372-364 to pay for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance improvements at Libby Tozier School in Litchfield and Sabattus Primary School.

“In recognizing that the school budget referendum was not approved by the voters, we will continue our commitment to maintaining our dedication to providing a high quality education for our students while remaining fiscally responsible,” Superintendent Katy Grondin said. “The board will discuss its plan to address the failed referendum and outline a new timeline for a second budget referendum vote.”


In a statement Wednesday, school board Chairwoman Jill Bouchard acknowledged the voters’ concerns. “We understand the hard times that currently affect the residents of RSU 4. With that understanding, the board tried to give a fiscally responsible budget to the voters we hoped would pass. Now that the budget did not pass, it is the task of the board and the administrators of RSU 4 to dig deeper and present another budget we think the residents will agree on. Our hope is that residents will come out and give feedback on what they are looking for,” she said.

The district’s special education budget was reduced by $70,000 by voters at the budget meeting in May, which was the only change made to the final budget.

In June 2022, 967 voters turned out at the polls, with 57% in all three towns supporting the budget.

On Tuesday, 740 voters turned out at the polls.

The total enrollment in the district as of October 2022 was 1,287 students, with an additional 108 home-schooled.

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