Voters hold up yellow slips of paper Tuesday night at Dirigo High School in Dixfield to vote on a $14.28 million budget for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1. A majority of the 36 in attendance approved the proposal. A final vote will be held June 11 at the polls in Dixfield, Peru, Canton and Carthage. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

DIXFIELD — A majority of the 36 people at the Regional School Unit 56 budget meeting Tuesday night approved the $14.28 million proposal, holding up yellow slips of paper.

All 20 articles on the warrant passed.

The budget is $718,776 more than this year’s $13.56 million and represents an average increase of 6.76% in property taxes in Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru.

Ashley Provencher of Dixfield casts her ballot Tuesday night on the local share of the Regional School Unit 56 budget at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. Ballot clerks Earl and Julie Couture monitor the ballot box. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Superintendent Pam Doyen said the estimated annual tax increase on a home valued at $100,000 is $44 in Canton, $9.25 in Carthage, $62.67 in Dixfield and $50 in Peru.

Dan McKay of Dixfield asked if the district could pitch in a little more it its carryover funds to reduce the impact to taxpayers.

“All that you can do to help the taxpayers right now would be really appreciated,” he said.


Business Manager Mary Dailey said the district couldn’t use more than $277,500 in carryover for next year because, for one example, extra money has been used to pay for construction of the district’s new bus garage.

Besides the $277,500 applied to next year’s budget, the district has $277,500 set aside for the next three fiscal years, she said.

Doyen said if they opted to move more than $277,500 into the current budget, … then we are in effect building a cliff … and then next year they don’t have the $277,500 and “we’re now starting in the hole.”

Don Whittemore of Carthage, who was the only director to vote against the budget April 23 and Tuesday, reiterated his issues with administrators’ salary increases.

He said increases from 5% next year, 4% in 2025-26 and 3% in 2026-27 would total $158,439.

Doyen answered Whittemore similarly as she did at a meeting earlier this month. She said he “compounded” the increases.


“For example, the technology director will go from $79,606.12 in the current school year to $89,537.79 in the 2026-27 school year with an increase of 5% in 2024-25, 4% in 2025-26 and 3% in 2026-27,” she wrote in an email May 15. Don has that listed as an increase of $21,235.75 over the three years when in fact the technology directors’ salary will increase over three years by $9,931.67.”

Before the vote, Director Brad Dyer of Carthage commented on Whittemore’s complaint about administrators’ salaries.

“I don’t want to speak for the rest of the board, but we have been back and forth on that issue,” Dyer said. He said he helped negotiate the salaries for staff.

“Let’s say you have an employee that makes $100,000 a year and you give them a 5% raise. That’s $105,000 that they’re going to be making after that raise. At the end when year two comes along, you don’t deduct the $5,000 and then give them a 4% raise. And we’ve been back and forth on this, and I think it’s pretty clear.”

A final vote will be held June 11 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at polling stations in Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru.

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