WALES — Rejection of the proposed Regional School Unit 4 school budget 180 to 121 in Sabattus was enough to defeat the validation effort in that district.

Litchfield and Wales voted to approve the proposed $17.7 million budget. Support in Litchfield was 109-100 and in Wales, it was 62-51, but the vote total of 331-292 was enough to reject it.

On Wednesday, Superintendent James Hodgkin said administrators will keep spending within the current year’s budget limit until a new budget can be approved. He plans to ask the school board to set a special meeting next week to consider a new budget proposal from administrators.

“We hope to get some direction from them tonight,” Hodgkin said on Wednesday morning. “Hopefully we’ll have a number for them next week to approve and get started with the process. We’re hoping the state will have its budget finalized because, as it stands right now, we should be getting more money from the state.”

Will Fessenden, a school board member from Sabattus, had supported the proposed budget and was disappointed by the vote.

“These are difficult economic times and while I personally believe this was a good budget in terms of the services it supplies to our students, clearly a majority of those who voted from Sabattus feel otherwise,” he said. “We have an obligation to address their concerns and bring forth a budget that is more palatable to the residents of Sabattus.”

He offered a more personal note as well. “As a parent of two children in the school system, I don’t know if there’s a lower budget number I can feel good about while sending those kids to school.”

At a districtwide meeting June 5, voters from all three towns approved the proposed budget 39-16, which sent it for a validation vote at the polls.

From original amount of revenue receive when the RSU first formed in 2009, $2.7 million has been shifted to local taxpayers, adminstrators say.

Here’s what RSU 4 calculated as the total cost to each town and its tax increase:

• Litchfield: $3.3 million, an increase of 10.5 percent, or $317,531, which requires a 0.99 increase in the tax rate.

• Sabattus: $3.2 million, an increase of 17.3 percent or $474,000, which requires a 1.63 mil increase in the tax rate.

• Wales: almost $1.2 million, an increase of $156,000, which requires an increase of 1.44 mils in the tax rate.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]

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