OAKLAND — The school board for Regional School Unit 18 held an emergency meeting Thursday night to vote on the tax assessment for the five towns in the district, Oakland, China, Rome, Sidney and Belgrade, after the district received additional funds from the state.

The towns will pay the following amounts in local taxes to the district, each amount less than they previously owed:

• Belgrade: $6.05 million, down from $6.16 million

• China: $4.74 million, down from $4.81 million

• Oakland: $5.47 million, down from $5.57 million

• Rome: $1.82 million, down from $1.85 million

• Sidney: $4.04 million, down from $4.12 million

Superintendent Carl Gartley said district officials used the recommendations from the state Department of Education to calculate the reductions.

School board members voted unanimously, 8-0, to approve the motion for the presented decreases. They briefly questioned some issues, such as towns that already had paid their July bill, but there was little discussion.

“There was so very little guidance from Legislature,” Gartley said when explaining how they had to figure out some processes.

RSU 18 passed a $36.04 million budget, an increase of 4.16 percent over last year’s, in a June referendum, but it was waiting for the state’s budget results until mid-July. Some of its towns have been postponing paying their tax assessment, Gartley said, but they couldn’t wait until the next scheduled school board meeting in August.

The original state budget proposed by Gov. Paul LePage included 48 changes to the funding formula for essential programs and services, which would have left RSU 18 with a $750,000 revenue deficit — one of the largest in the state — that would need to be covered by local taxes.

After a three-day government shutdown, the Legislature passed a budget that included an additional $162 million for public education.

RSU 18 received an additional $787,000, covering its deficit and adding about $16,000.

The school board also voted at a previous meeting to distribute additional revenue three ways: Fifty percent would go toward reducing the local taxpayers’ share, 25 percent toward additional school costs, and the remainder toward the district’s fund balance.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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