FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 residents will meet for a second district wide budget meeting Thursday to consider a proposed $32.75 million budget for the 2016-2017 school year.

Voters from the district’s 10 towns will meet at 7 p.m. at the Bjorn Auditorium in Mt. Blue High School. The budget set by voters at the district wide meeting Thursday will go to the polls on July 28 for final approval.

The $32,749,109 proposed budget represents a 2.2 increase over last year’s budget and, if accepted by voters, will amount in a decrease in local allocations for eight of the district’s 10 towns.

Residents at the first district wide meeting in June approved a $32.97 million budget which was then rejected at the polls on June 14. Over the last month, RSU 9 directors and district administrators have been deliberating cuts, and voted on cutting $224,071 from the original budget at a June 30 meeting.

The reductions are about a 2.2 percent increase from last year’s budget, 0.7 percentage point less of an increase than the failed $32.97 million budget.

While the budget is up from last year, Regional School Unit 9 superintendent Tom Ward wants to emphasize to district residents that local allocations are down 2.1 percent from last year. Between increasing the carry over in the budget to $550,000, receiving a larger contribution from the state and the district’s new ability to receive MaineCare reimbursements for some special education costs, increased revenue was used to blunt the impact of the 2.2 percent increase on the towns.

“We’re very pleased we were able to have eight out of the ten towns see a decrease,” Ward said. “We’re hopeful that is going to be enough.”

According to RSU 9 data, if the proposed figure is approved by voters on July 28, Chesterville’s contribution compared to last school year would be a decrease of $14,442; Farmington, a decrease of $90,593; Industry, a decrease of $10,408; New Sharon, a decrease of $26,013; Temple, a decrease of $17,777; Vienna, a decrease of $4,425; Weld, a decrease of $8,647 and Wilton, a decrease of $124,249.

The proposed budget would amount to a contribution increase of $17,563 for Starks and a $339 increase for New Vineyard.

Directors were able to cut $224,071 from the failed budget by eliminating one vacant education technician position, for a savings of $12,400; leaving a world language position at Mt. Blue Middle School vacant, a savings of $48,000; two retirements, totaling a $35,000 savings; reducing the stipend for the Mt. Blue High School assistant athletic director by $5,000; reducing the district’s contingency fund by $80,000; and getting a new HVAC contract, for a reduction of $25,000.

This is the second year in a row that the district has held a second budget meeting after voters rejected the board’s initial figure. Last year, voters narrowly passed the $32.04 million budget at a second referendum in July. Voters at the first referendum in June rejected a proposed $32.25 million budget, by a vote of 1,045-741.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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