Residents in School Administrative District 74 approved a $9.4 million budget for the 2015-2016 school year Tuesday night.

The budget passed by an overall vote of 104-57 and was approved in each town in the district except Embden. It was approved 36-17 in Anson, 23-14 in New Portland and 31-8 in Solon.

Residents in Embden, where a movement is underway to explore withdrawing from the district, rejected the budget 18-14.

“I’m very gratified on behalf of the school board for the support the community has shown for the education of the children,” SAD 74 Superintendent Ken Coville said Tuesday night.

The $9,427,967 budget represents an increase of $193,852, or about 2 percent, from the 2014-2015 budget.

It also includes an increase of about $100,000 in the amount of money to come from local taxpayers.

The largest increase in the budget is a $137,685 cost for renovations at Carrabec High School, which are scheduled to begin over the summer. The renovations were approved by voters as part of a $2 million project that will be paid for over the next 15 years with no interest because of a federally secured bond, according to Coville.

He said that without the renovation project, the amount of money to be raised from local taxes otherwise would have been about $35,000 less than in the current year.

The district was also able to save about $60,000 in charter school costs because of proposed legislation that would fund charter schools directly through the state rather than through districts that send students to those schools. L.D. 131 was approved by the Maine Senate last week, has been sent to Gov. Paul LePage and is expected to be signed into law.

The budget does include the elimination of four positions — two teaching positions and two education technician positions. The reductions were made as a savings measure related to declining student enrollment, and there were no layoffs, Coville said.

He said it is historically not unusual for Embden to reject the school budget and that the margin in this year’s vote was actually less than normal.

Recently, Embden town officials have cited concerns about the way local funding is raised for the budget, saying residents there are paying more than their fair share because of the state’s Essential Programs and Services funding model, which bases funding to schools on property tax values. A June 9 referendum is scheduled in Embden at which voters will be asked whether they want to form an official district withdrawal committee and submit an application to the state to secede.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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