MADISON — Residents gave their final approval to a $10.08 million school budget at the polls Thursday.

The budget, which includes a $390,737 increase in funds to come from local taxpayers, was approved by a vote of 327–277.

“We’re pleased the budget passed, that the community heard what we were saying and that we can continue planning for the next school year,” School Administrative District 59 Superintendent Todd LeRoy said Thursday evening.

Residents initially approved the budget at a validation meeting on June 20, when they were presented with revisions to what originally had been a $1 million increase in costs to taxpayers as part of a $10.36 million budget.

The approved budget includes an additional $180,500 in cuts to regular instruction and draws on $300,000 from a reserve account to reduce costs.

Earlier in the week, the school board approved the reduction of four full-time positions by one day per week, including an elementary music teaching position, an elementary art teaching position, a physical education teaching position and a guidance position.

It decided to not reduce a full-time health teaching position, even though the board originally had proposed cutting that position by 50 percent and eliminating health education at the junior high school. Residents also approved the cut during the June 20 budget validation meeting.

“The board and community just really wanted to support that program. Obesity and issues with health are such a problem that we thought it was important to keep it in the junior high,” LeRoy said.

One physical education teacher and one administrative assistant also have been eliminated for next year. A French teaching position and a Spanish teaching position have been replaced by a single dual-enrollment foreign language teacher.

Some residents at the polls Thursday said they believed the district could have trimmed the budget more, but they were outnumbered by those who approved.

“I think the changes to the original budget are positive, but they could have done a little more,” said Tony Duprey, 52. He said he thought the outcome of the vote would be close.

“A lot of people support the school and the teachers, but there are also residents concerned about taxes going up,” he said.

Matt Sucy, 19, a college student at Husson University, said he voted to pass the budget.

“I think it’s a fair budget, and passing it is better than having to go through the revision process again,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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