FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 voters gave the first round of approval to a proposed $32.75 million budget with minimal discussion at a districtwide meeting Thursday night.

The meeting is the second of this year’s process after voters on June 14 rejected an initial $32.97 million budget proposal that had been accepted at the June 1 districtwide meeting.

The $32,749,109 budget proposal accepted at Thursday’s meeting for 2016-2017 will go to a referendum July 28 in the district’s 10 towns for final approval. If voters reject the budget proposal at the polls, the RSU 9 Board of Directors will have to go back to square one, drafting a proposal for a third time.

The tone of Thursday’s meeting was starkly different from that of the first districtwide meeting on June 1. The first meeting spanned three hours and featured heated discussion from those both in favor and opposed to the $32.97 million proposal.

The $32.75 million proposal accepted by about 225 residents in attendance at Thursday’s meeting was passed with minimal discussion. The meeting lasted just over an hour and a half, which included a recess prompted by a brief power outage that caused the sound system to fail.

The initial $32,973,180 budget proposal failed by a vote of 1,757-1,518. That proposal was 2.9 percent larger than last year’s budget.

Over the last month, the board of directors has worked to cut $224,071 from the initial budget plan, bringing the new budget proposal down to a 2.2 percent increase over last year’s budget. If the proposed budget is approved at the polls, eight of the district’s 10 towns will pay less as their local allocations compared to last year.

According to RSU 9 data, if the proposed figure is approved by voters on July 28, Chesterville’s contribution compared to last school year would decrease by $14,442; Farmington, $90,593; Industry, $10,408; New Sharon, $26,013; Temple, $17,777; Vienna, $4,425; Weld, $8,647; and Wilton, $124,249.

Directors were able to cut $224,071 from the failed budget by eliminating one vacant education technician position, for a saving of $12,400; leaving a world language position at Mt. Blue Middle School vacant, a saving of $48,000; two retirements, totaling a $35,000 saving; reducing the stipend for the Mt. Blue High School assistant athletic director by $5,000; reducing the district’s contingency fund by $80,000; and getting a new HVAC contract, for a reduction of $25,000.

This is the second year in a row in which the district has held a second budget meeting after voters rejected the board’s initial figure. Last year, voters narrowly passed the $32.04 million budget at a second referendum in July. Voters at the first referendum in June rejected a proposed $32.25 million budget, by a vote of 1,045-741.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate