FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors approved a $35.5 million budget for 2018-19 on Tuesday night.

It will go to a districtwide budget meeting at 7 p.m. May 7, at the Mt. Blue Campus, followed by a validation vote May 15 at polling stations in the 10 district towns.

The budget is $1.91 million more than that of this fiscal year, which ends June 30. That’s a 5.68 percent increase.

The budget includes $900,027 in fixed costs and $391,702 in additional district needs.

Before approving the spending plan, the board added $224,086, including $33,866 for higher insurance costs and $52,000 for another third-grade teacher at Cascade Brook School.

The board also approved $461,603 for an alternative education program for disruptive students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Director Doug Dunlap, of Farmington, said those students are the most vulnerable and all those who need the program should be served at some point. He asked if it would be better to start with a smaller program and expand it later.

Director Betsy Hyde, of Temple said, “We’re out of step asking for this much more. I voted against extending the elementary education program.”

Director Irving Faunce, of Wilton said, “It’s an investment. Education is the way out of poverty.”

Erb said cuts have been going on for a long time with little discretionary funding increases.

“People are getting concerned that we haven’t been addressing the needs,” he said. “We’re about at the 2015 level with these increases.”

The board also approved the adult education budget of $398,254. The local portion is $174,000.

The state will provide roughly $21 million of the $35.5 million budget.

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