BINGHAM — Bingham and Moscow residents voted Tuesday to cut the industrial arts program from the school district.

Just 15 residents and nine board members — 2.3 percent of the 1,033 registered voters in the two towns — attended the budget meeting at Quimby Middle School to approve the 2011-12 budget for School Administrative District 13, which is trying for the second time to get a budget passed.

A proposal at the beginning of the meeting by school board member Joey McKenzie, of Bingham, to add $60,000 to the budget to allow the industrial arts program to stay, failed in a 3 to 14 vote. The decision means the elimination of carpentry classes for high school and middle school students and the loss of one teacher, Nienke Adamse, who was not at the meeting.

The budget is proposed at $3,048,308, which is a 1.3-percent — or $39,443 — decrease from last year’s figure. Residents will next take a closed-curtain vote on the figure. Voting will be 1-6 p.m. on Tuesday at Quimby Middle School and the Moscow Town Office.

The district is undergoing the budget process again after Moscow residents defeated the budget by more than a 2-to-1 margin at the polls June 14. The two-step budget validation process is required by state law.

Since June, the school board has found more than $100,000 in savings, with about $60,000 coming from cutting the industrial arts program.

Despite the overall decrease, Bingham residents’ share is slated to increase $17,942, and Moscow residents’ share is projected to increase $104,603, compared with last year. The increased burden on communities comes because of a declining number of students and increasing property values, school officials said.

School board member Pauline Lagasse, of Moscow, said she understands people not wanting to cut the industrial arts program, but something had to be done to save money, and “this was where the least number of students were going to be effected.”

“You can’t be everything for everybody,” she said.

Several residents spoke against the cut, however, saying the class taught important skills.

“There are some students where this is their means for success, in learning this type of hands-on ability,” said Norma Miller, of Bingham. “I wonder if there won’t be more dropouts and if that won’t affect the bottom line more than keeping it in the budget.”

“I’m not in favor of cutting the industrial arts program at all. I don’t know anybody in Moscow who is,” added Roderick Belanger, of Moscow.

The number of students in the class is already low, with about 12 high school students enrolled for next semester, Superintendent Virginia Rebar said. With the middle school’s schedule possibly changing in the fall, even more students might not be able to attend.

Board Chairman Brian Malloy, of Bingham, said the approximately 32 seventh and eighth graders in the program last school year had to take the class. Many of them said they would have done something else if given the opportunity, he said. Juniors and seniors will still be able to attend Somerset Career & Techical Center in Skowhegan.

Adamse has said that enrollment usually increases once classes start. She has fought at meetings during the last several months to keep the program, saying that it teaches valuable practical and problem-solving skills.

Residents also approved several other cost-cutting measures, including no pay increases for teachers and administrators.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

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