GARDINER — The Gardiner-area school board voted Wednesday to approve a proposed spending plan that is 2.98 percent higher than the current year’s budget, but would result in assessments to the four member communities that are lower than the current year’s.

At the special meeting, the School Administrative District 11 board also voted to set the referendum vote over the closure of the Teresa C. Hamlin School in Randolph for May 15, with a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 7.

The total requested SAD 11 budget is $24,772,700, which is $717,700 higher than what was proposed a year ago.

But not all of that is raised through local appropriation, which is anticipated to be $9,402,674. Each of the four communities in the district would be expected to see these decreases:

• Gardiner, -6.03 percent or $225,159.22

• Pittston, -3.41 percent or $71,339.63

• Randolph, -8.49 percent or $83,603.86

• West Gardiner, -4.54 percent or $141,482.83

The board voted 9-0-1 to approve the budget, with James Lothridge, of Pittston, abstaining. Lothridge was elected to the board less than a month ago, and he said he has not had time to understand the budget fully.

Among the changes that this budget reflects is the addition of a mathematics teacher for the high school to help the district meet state requirements, said Eric Jermyn, chairman of the board’s Finance Committee, as well as an additional educational technician.

The board also is seeking funding to pay for an additional school resource officer, the cost of which would be split with the city of Gardiner.

“We have a school resource officer at the high school,” Jermyn said. “The second one would be at the middle school, and both would be able to play a bigger role at the elementary schools,” he said.

The board also is anticipating spending $70,000 on the roof at Laura E. Richards School, one of Gardiner’s elementary schools.

Built into this spending plan is money to pay for several items for which outside funding has ceased, including a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant that has paid for professional development resources, among other things.

This budget also reflects the expected closure of Randolph’s elementary school.

The SAD 11 board voted March 15 to close the school after considering the work of an ad hoc committee that hashed out the options for the future of the Randolph elementary school in November and December.

Randolph residents will have a chance to vote on that decision in May. If they vote to override the board’s decision, the taxpayers of Randolph would be obligated to pay the annual costs of keeping the school open.

The district’s budget meeting is scheduled for June 5, and the referendum on the budget will be held in conjunction with the statewide primary on June 12.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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