FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors approved a budget calendar Thursday that sets them on track for the annual, districtwide budget meeting vote May 1, followed by a referendum May 15.

Voters approved a 2017-18 budget in October after four attempts.

The budget meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Feb. 6, all at the Forum at Mt. Blue Campus. At times, the board will hold a business meeting combined with a budget meeting. The board will skip Tuesdays that fall within school vacation weeks — Feb. 20 and April 17.

“This is an aggressive schedule folks and the goal is to have the annual budget meeting on May 1,” Superintendent Tom Ward said. The board attempted to hold the annual budget meeting in May last year but snowstorms postponed the schedule.

He asked directors to try to keep their Thursdays free, especially as they start winding down the budget process in March and April.

Ward informed the board that the state is hoping to get the preliminary essential programs and services funding formula information out in February, something that hasn’t happened in several years, he said.

In other business directors unanimously accepted the board’s Administrator Evaluation Committee’s proposal on a new superintendent search.

Ward announced in December he will retire June 30.

Director Tami Labul of Farmington, a member of the board’s Administrator Evaluation Committee, gave fellow board members a run down of what the committee feels it can do in-house as part of the search and what the Maine School Management Association can do.

The committee felt they could create the online survey, job description and brochure in house, Labul said.

Students, community members, staff and board members among others could take the survey online or by hand to outline what qualities they are looking for in a superintendent.

Chairwoman Jennifer Zweig Hebert of Starks, also a member of the committee, said she will get a better handle on the cost when she contacts the association on Friday.

The committee estimated that a cost for the search would be about $4,000, depending on how many applications were received, Labul said.

Hebert said the $2,000 included in the amount for advertising is a very rough estimate.

“We are very fortunate to have Cindy (Dixon) in the Superintendent’s Office” because she has experience in doing superintendent searches, Labul said.

The committee was thinking they would do a Google form survey for the public and if they want to write it out by hand they could, Hebert said.

“We definitely want public input” and the best way would be an online survey that would also be available at libraries and town office, she said.

The board has information from a survey that was done when they searched for a new superintendent five years ago when Superintendent Michael Cormier announced he was retiring after 20 years with the district.

The money for the search will come out of the legal line, Hebert said.

The committee plans to meet again Monday to figure out what will go in packets that will go out to those interested in applying for the position.

The tentative timeline is to be in the final stages of the search mid-April, Hebert said.

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