AUGUSTA — Local regional school unit boards have approved draft budgets and will start holding regional budget meetings this week.

At the meetings, voters have the opportunity to amend budget articles before placing them on the ballot for the validation vote, which is June 11 for most area districts.

In Oakland-based RSU 18, however, voters approved the $32.3 million budget last week, and the validation vote for Somerville-based RSU 12 isn’t until June 28.


The school board approved a 5.6 percent increase in spending to bring the budget to $24.4 million, up from $23.1 million for 2012-13. The district serves Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth and Richmond.

The share of the budget to be paid by local taxpayers would rise by $1.7 million, or 13.8 percent, to $14 million.

The major cost increases in the budget include utilities, $100,000 to purchase laptops for students, $339,151 in teacher retirement contributions and about $250,000 from an 8 percent increase in health insurance premiums.

The budget also includes $336,722 in reductions, including the elimination of the position of Monmouth Middle School principal, one teaching position each at Monmouth Middle School and Hall-Dale Elementary School, and one high school teaching position.

District officials will host public information sessions about the budget at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Monmouth Academy, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hall-Dale High School and 6 p.m. Thursday at Richmond High School.

The regional budget meeting, at which residents can amend and vote on the articles for the June 11 referendum, is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 4 at Hall-Dale High School.


Nine teaching jobs will be cut if voters adopt the $17.7 million budget in RSU 4, which serves Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales.

The board-approved budget is 0.85 percent, or $150,000, higher than this year’s.

Part of the increase is an anticipated $220,000 contribution to the teachers’ pension fund, which historically has been paid by the state.

Because of a reduction in state subsidy and a higher minimum tax rate set by the state, the portion of the budget to be funded through local taxes would rise by about $950,000, or 14 percent. Litchfield will experience the smallest increase of the three towns.

The cuts to teaching positions are spread across schools and departments. They would result in the elimination of Project Reach and foreign language at Oak Hill Middle School and the Spanish program at Oak Hill High School.

The largest expenses in the proposed budget are almost $6.4 million for regular instruction, $3 million for special education and $2.1 million for facilities maintenance.

Budget informational meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Carrie Ricker School in Litchfield, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus and at 6:30 p.m. on June 4 at Oak Hill High School in Wales.

The regional budget meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 5 at Oak Hill High School.

RSU 11

Some school board members thought the district, which serves Gardiner, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner, should present a higher budget to voters to reflect the cost of a quality education, but in the end a majority of the RSU 11 board approved a budget with a less than 1 percent increase.

The $21.5 million budget is $74,255 higher than this year’s, an increase of 0.35 percent.

It includes contracted salary increases, a 13 percent rise in health insurance premiums, a new ventilation system at Pittston Consolidated School, the addition of an instructional technology technician and about $330,000 in contributions to the teachers pension fund.

Personnel to be cut would be five educators, an operations and maintenance worker, a part-time custodian and the principal at T.C. Hamlin School in Randolph. Other cuts include the Gardiner Area High School cross-country program and freshman football.

Business Manager Andrea Disch said a teaching principal would lead T.C. Hamlin, teaching during the day and receiving a stipend to do administrative work outside school hours.

Including the adult education budget, the local assessment would rise by $277,238, or 3.4 percent. Gardiner taxes would actually fall a small amount, but the other three towns will see an increase.

The regional budget meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the high school.

RSU 12

The district serves Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Somerville, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor and Wiscasset.

Its school board has approved a budget of $26.5 million, but some decisions remain to be made by administrators about where some funds will be spent.

When approving the budget, the board added $100,000 to protect and equalize co-curricular offerings such as art, music and K-8 foreign language, which were cut at some schools in an earlier version of the budget.

The board’s budget is just less than 3 percent higher than this year’s. The amount to be raised through local taxes would rise $1.1 million, or 7.7 percent, to $15.5 million.

In the central office, the board reduced the assistant superintendent to half time, eliminated an assistant special education director and a clerical worker and reduced the hours of the food service director.

The budget also cuts a social worker, a literacy coach, a half-time science coach, three education technicians, 2.5 special education technicians who are not needed because of smaller case loads and a technology integrator. Pay to participate will be instituted for sports, but the details have not been decided.

The regional budget meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 8 at Whitefield Elementary. The validation vote will be June 28.

RSU 38

The school board made two rounds of cuts to arrive at a budget of $15.7 million, which is up $479,411 or 3.1 percent. The district serves Manchester, Mount Vernon, Readfield and Wayne.

Reductions included all education technicians for regular education, the lease-purchase of a new bus, more than $30,000 in maintenance projects and seventh-grade sports teams.

The school board also made some additions, such as expanding pre-kindergarten at Manchester Elementary School and hiring a curriculum coordinator at $70,000 for salary and benefits.

Major increases in the budget are $206,000 for contributions to the teacher retirement fund, which the state has historically paid, a $140,000 increase in health and dental insurance and $108,500 for computers through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

The amount to be raised through local taxes would rise by 14.5 percent, to $10.8 million.

The regional budget meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Maranacook Community High School.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645
[email protected]

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