FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9’s $32.25 million budget was rejected soundly by voters Tuesday night, 741-1045, amid what Superintendent Thomas Ward called a no-win situation.

Of the 10 communities voting on the 3.9 percent increase — $1.2 million more than the current budget — only Farmington, voting 262-234; Weld, 16-11; and Starks, 31-6, approved it.

Opposing the budget were Wilton, 260-286; Chesterville, 27-108; New Sharon, 54-215; New Vineyard, 12-69; Industry, 39-48; Temple, 20-42 and Vienna, 20-26.

“I want to emphasize that it is our job to put forth a budget that meets the needs of our children,” Ward said in a prepared statement. “The school district was put in a ‘no win’ situation when the state increased the educational mill rate to towns from 8.1 percent to 8.47 percent. This is the amount the towns have to raise to receive their state allocation. That amount of increase on our towns was not realistic.”

He said that the good news is that when the state budget is passed, “we will all know how much additional money will be added to General Purpose Aid to Education to reduce the educational mill rate to our towns.”

He urged residents to emphasize to their representatives “how important it is that the educational mill rate be reduced by keeping the additional money for General Purpose Aid in the proposed state budget.”


Lorna Nichols, Travis Pond and Milton Sinclair, members of the New Sharon Board of Selectmen, put out a statement calling for a “no” vote before the referendum.

The release said, “With continued reductions in state funding, RSU 9’s budget increase of $1.2 million puts New Sharon’s increase to you, our taxpayers, at $171,291 more than 2014 — potentially bringing the current mil rate of 15.2 to 18.2 (or higher), which equates to $300 more per $100,000 of property valuation.”

It said that while board members strongly support education, “the state Legislature has discussed adding between $25 million and $50 million into General Purpose Aid for education as part of the budget process, which would help to reduce the burden locally, (but) there is no guarantee that will happen — and in the end, the increase for all 10 district towns ultimately falls upon local taxpayers.”

Douglas McIntire — 861-9252

Twitter: @CD_McIntire

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