Madison residents will be asked to consider a $10.1 million school budget Tuesday, representing a 3 percent increase from the current $9.85 million budget.

“We recognize nothing costs what it once did, and the demands the Department of Education puts on education today do not come without a price tag,” School Administrative District 59 Interim Superintendent of Schools Bonnie Levesque said in a letter to residents last month. “With that said, the board, administration team and staff have worked diligently to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers in creating the budget for the 2018-2019 school year.”

The budget referendum will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Madison Town Office.

Two years ago, the district was hit hard by the closure of Madison Paper Industries, the largest taxpayer and employer in Madison. The change has resulted in a loss of tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and shifted more of the tax burden on to residents.

However, Levesque said while this year’s budget is up about $295,000, the amount of money to come from taxpayers is actually down $38,000.

She said collaboration with neighboring school districts has helped to keep costs down, though there are a handful of one-time costs contributing to this year’s increase.

Those include $85,000 for a new school bus, the cost of which will be reimbursed by the state in 2019-2020, and about $175,000 for repairs on the roof of Madison Elementary School.

Some of the funding for the repairs will be provided by the state, which has contributed additional money to Madison in the wake of the mill closure, Levesque said.

The district is also seeing a significant rise in its special education budget, which is up to $1.62 million from $1.56 million.

Levesque said the increase is almost entirely accounted for by the cost of sending a single student out-of-district for services.

“The amount of money coming from taxpayers is actually down, so I’m hopeful the community will support it and realize we’re being fiscally responsible,” Levesque said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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