LITCHFIELD — Residents from the three towns that make up Regional School Unit 4 — Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales — headed to the polls Wednesday to vote for or against an $18.79 million budget for the current school year.

The results of the latest vote were not available by publication time late Wednesday evening.

Among the steady stream of Litchfield voters who were heading to the polls around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, opinions were divided about the latest proposal, which is $107,000 lower than the $18.9 million budget that was first sent to voters in June.

A number of people interviewed outside the polls said they voted in favor of the budget because they wanted students to receive the best education possible — and also because they were tired of heading to the polls after doing so twice already this year.

“I’m over it,” said Claudette Gilbert, a Litchfield parent who voted in favor of the latest budget proposal on Wednesday evening. “It needs to just pass. People need to remember when they had kids.”

One of the reasons for the proposed increase in this year’s budget was a $422,014 reduction in the amount of state aid to the district for the 2017 school year. The budget proposal also included a $341,711 increase for, among other things, a bus, textbooks, technology investments and a new dean of students position that was meant to address an increase in problematic behavior by students.

But opponents of the latest budget proposal were also out in force Wednesday.

After casting his vote against the $18.79 million budget, resident Kenneth Lizotte said that while he supports local schools, he didn’t think the district needed to hire a new dean this year. He also said Litchfield taxpayers, many of whom are elderly and on fixed incomes, pay a disproportionately high share of the district’s budget.

This isn’t the first time in recent years when voters have taken a few months to approve an RSU 4 budget. In 2015, voters in June defeated the original budget by about 30 votes, requiring another vote in July. And in 2013, voters rejected the budget twice before giving it final approval in August of that year.

In June of this year, RSU 4 voters also approved a measure to keep sending the school budget to residents for a validation vote for the next three years.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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