WALES — A $21.8 million budget for Regional School Unit 4 will head for a public referendum Oct. 3 after voters in the three-town district turned down two prior spending plans.

A public budget meeting Wednesday at Oak Hill High School approved each of 14 articles ranging from instruction to debt service, allowing the referendum to move forward. The final tally at the session was 26 in favor of the proposal and 19 opposed.

Spending on administration was the focus of debate as residents questioned whether the district needed to spend as much on central office staff.

Nicole Russell of Sabattus said many residents don’t feel administrative costs have been reduced enough. She said they don’t understand why the district allocations for instruction shrank while leaving intact the money set aside for administration.

Officials were asked about how bills get paid, how paperwork is delivered between buildings, the pay and benefits of administrators and more. Though some were pointed queries, people were uniformly civil.

The proposed budget approved Wednesday would hike spending by 2.2% more than last year’s budget, but reduce the overall allocation targeted for instruction of 1,300 students by 1.3%. Under the current plan, the district would have five fewer teachers and one less education technician than it did last year.


The spending plan would also slice spending on student and staff support by 2% from last year’s level.

Lana Hall of Wales said the new version of the budget won’t pass because officials are “not listening” to residents who want to see administrative costs cut.

Voters in Sabattus, Wales and Litchfield rejected two previous spending plans by wide margins.

The district said that each referendum costs between $4,000 and $5,000.

For details of the proposed spending plan, see the district’s website at The website also includes answers to the most common questions received from residents.

Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 in Sabattus and Litchfield. In Wales, voting is slated from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voting takes place at the town halls in Wales and Sabattus. In Litchfield, voters should head to the Litchfield Sportsmen’s Club, 2261 Hallowell Road.

Absentee ballots will be available from the town clerks in each town starting this week.

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