A current administrator in the school district made up of Litchfield, Wales and Sabattus has been appointed to replace outgoing superintendent Jim Hodgkin.

Hodgkin, who has been Regional School Unit 4’s superintendent for the last eight years, announced his resignation at a board meeting in early March, citing his frustration with a continuing lack of funding from the state. He will be replaced by Andrew Carlton, the district’s current director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Carlton, of Waterville, will become superintendent on July 1, with a three-year-contract that runs through June 30, 2020, according to a news release from the school district.

Carlton, like Hodgkin, said there’s no immediate solution to Litchfield’s school funding woes.

“I get their frustration,” Carlton said in an interview Monday. “I think these communities have done a lot to overcome those challenges.”

At this point, Carlton said he was not able to comment on the specifics of the district’s budget. But he said he’ll always be aware of the burden funding decisions can have on the residents of a small, rural district. “Budgets are hard everywhere,” Carlton said. “I wish I had a crystal ball to say that state aid will level off, but we will be presented with challenges every year. I’m really mindful of education being funded on the backs of taxpayers.”

Carlton has not signed a contract yet and his salary has not been finalized, but it will probably be between $95,000 and $100,000, he said on Monday. Hodgkin’s salary this year is $104,000.

“RSU 4 is extremely excited to announce the appointment and promotion of Andrew Carlton to Superintendent of Schools beginning in July,” Josh Bisson, chairman of the school board, said in the release.

“We feel very fortunate that our district was in a place where we could promote from within,” Bisson continued. “Mr. Carlton’s knowledge of curriculum, special education, school building operation as well as his demonstrated leadership skills will serve our students, faculty and staff very well. We thank Superintendent Hodgkin for his devoted 8 years of service and welcome Superintendent Carlton to continue the amazing work that is going on in RSU 4.”

Before becoming curriculum director of RSU 4 in July 2015, Carlton served three years as assistant principal at Oak Hill High School after one year as director of special education in School Administrative District 13, which covers the towns of Moscow and Bingham.

Carlton also taught special education and served one term on the school board in Maine School Administrative District 49, covering Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield. He lives in Waterville and has two daughters, ages 8 and 10.

“There is no question I am excited for this opportunity,” Carlton said in the news release. “I love these communities, the community members, the students, the staff, and the administrative team, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead RSU 4 for the foreseeable future. When I think about continuing my career in RSU 4, I get excited because of the support the school board and the community show for education.”

Carlton was looking for superintendent positions when Hodgkin announced his resignation, he said during an interview on Monday, and he is now eager to continue working on some of the educational initiatives he has spearheaded as curriculum director.

He also is excited to oversee a proposed replacement of the roof of Oak Hill High School, a project that the state Department of Education has approved for a $1 million interest-free loan and that residents will have to approve in town-wide votes. There will be a hearing on that possible upgrade in April at a date that will soon chosen by the school board, Carlton said.

Carlton said he has been commuting from Waterville to Wales for several years and plans to continue doing so.

He also acknowledged the budgetary challenges facing RSU 4 that prompted Hodgkin to announce his resignation on March 1. Hodgkin, who also works as a part-time school superintendent in Fayette but does not have another full-time job lined up, will remain at RSU 4 until June.

Hodgkin said the main reason for his departure is the challenges that have stemmed from a decreasing amount of state funding to RSU 4, which has pushed $2.5 million in education costs onto area residents over the last eight years, even as the school district’s costs have grown by less than 2.5 percent in that time.

“The state keeps contributing less and they keep expecting the towns to pay more to get less money,” Hodgkin said earlier this month. “That’s the single biggest frustration. … It has made the budget process really difficult and hard, professionally and personally. I don’t expect that it will be getting any better any time soon. After doing eight budgets, I decided I’ve had enough.”

He also said residents in one district town, which he declined to identify, have expressed reluctance to support future RSU 4 budgets. Several Litchfield residents have made comments to that effect in the last year, but Hodgkin would not say if that’s the town he was referring to.

Some Litchfield residents have expressed frustration about increasing school funding costs and the fact that they must pay the greatest share of the budget in RSU 4, when Sabattus has more students than Litchfield. One reason Litchfield must pay more is that its properties cumulatively have a higher tax valuation because of the lakes there.

The current year’s $18.8 million budget was not approved by taxpayers until September after Litchfield taxpayers voted it down twice.

The imbalance is not likely to change in the next couple years. The state probably won’t alter its funding formula, Hodgkin has said, and the RSU 4 school board has been reluctant to make any changes in its internal formula that would give Litchfield some relief.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.