Education officials in the Oakland- and Bingham-based school districts will begin work on new budgets next week after voters rejected their proposals at the polls Tuesday.

The districts have until July 1 to approve budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, but if they are unable to, then state law instructs a district to operate with the budget approved at its most recent budget meeting, according to David Connerty-Marin, director of communications for the Maine Department of Education.

In Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18, Superintendent Gary Smith said school administrators will ask directors what changes, if any, they want to make to the budget at a meeting June 20.

District voters rejected the proposed $33,029,239 budget by 38 votes, 1,209 to 1,171. Besides Oakland, the district includes Belgrade, Sidney, Rome and China.

Given legal posting requirements and the July 4 holiday, Smith said the earliest another validation vote would be held is the week of July 9.

Smith said he was disappointed an automated call that contained information that “didn’t present the whole picture” was placed to district households the night before the vote.

In Bingham-based School Administrative District 13, which also includes Moscow, Superintendent Virginia Rebar said the school board will decide how to proceed atTuesday’s meeting.

Rebar, who said it’s not likely that a recount would be requested, said she was impressed with “so many people participating in the democratic process.”

District voters rejected the $3.1 million budget by four votes, 118-114.

Connerty-Marin said districts without approved budgets need to be frugal, because the budgets ultimately approved might be smaller than the interim ones.

The new budget process is the same at the previous one: a school board proposes a budget, it is validated by voters at district meeting, then sent to a referendum vote.


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