FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 had the $45 million budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year approved at the annual budget meeting on Tuesday, May 21, held in the Bjorn Auditorium at Mt. Blue High School.

Paul Mills served as moderator over the proceedings. RSU 9 board of directors, school administrators, and members of the public representing the 10 towns that send their kids to RSU 9 were in attendance.

Those towns are Chesterville, Farmington, Industry, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Temple, Starks, Vienna Weld, and Wilton.

Presented were 22 articles and all passed. The overall budget saw an 8.26% increase over the previous year. However, taxpayers are only accountable for 4.45%, with the remaining increases covered by the district’s balance forward account.

Paul Mills, right, moderates the Regional School Unit 9 annual budget meeting Tuesday, May 21, in the Bjorn Auditorium at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. Seated from left are RSU 9 directors Rich Ruhlin of Industry, Judith Kaut of New Sharon, Greg Kimber of Temple, and student representative Abigail Goodspeed. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Superintendent Christian Elkington addressed the increase, stating that RSU 9 had not stayed competitive in wages and benefits when compared to neighboring school districts. He added the increases came from the previous two labor negotiations with support and professional staff, which resulted in wage increases.

“In order to stay competitive and to hire qualified staff,” he said, “we have to compete with the others around us.”


The budget for regular instruction is $12.69 million, which is a 12.53% increase. It includes contractual wage and benefit increases and new long-term and one-year positions.

The district is allocating $2,980,000 from the balance forward account to offset the remaining 3.78% increases, and includes the following:

• $250,000 to create a building renovation account for a building renovation fund set for 2027/2028.

• $250,000 to be put towards reserve account increases.

• $1,045,000 for new long-term and one-year positions, including three teaching and three education technician positions.

• $385,000 for building and grounds projects for 2024/2025, including unfinished work at the Bjorn Center for Career and Technical Education.


• $1,050,000 put towards reducing taxes for the budget.

The audience at the RSU 9 annual budget meeting voting on the articles on Tuesday, May 21, in the Bjorn Auditorium at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. The 22 articles passed and will be voted on during the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, June 11, by the ten towns that send their kids to the RSU 9 district. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Article 14 — additional local funds required a written ballot. The article recommended exactly $4,433,773 of local funds to be raised beyond the state/local EPS funding allocation, and it was approved with 65 voting ‘yes’ and one voting ‘no’.

Before the meeting’s completion, Director Rich Ruhlin recognized Student Representative Abigail Goodspeed, a senior who will be graduating in June with her Mt. Blue classmates.

“She has been an engaged student member,” he said. “This is the first time she had an opportunity to go to cast a vote, raise a motion, and a second for our budget, but she’s been an exemplary student citizen and we are thrilled to have had her.”

Ruhlin, on behalf of the board, wished her “all the best of luck” as she will begin attending the University of Maine at Orono next year. Goodspeed received a standing ovation from the board, as well as members of the audience.

With the budget finalized and approved by the district, it will be going to voters during the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, June 11, where the 10 towns will vote on the finalized budget.

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