MADISON — The local school board gave approval Monday night to a $10.2 million budget, which is up less than 1 percent over the current budget.

The proposed $10,212,036 budget was approved unanimously, 7-0. It now will go before voters in a budget validation meeting May 6 and a referendum May 14.

Although the proposed budget is up about $64,000, the amount local taxpayers would need to pay is down $138,133, according to School Administrative District 59 Superintendent Bonnie Levesque, who said an increase in state funding allowed the district to lower the cost to taxpayers.

The budget includes the addition of a new teacher at Madison Elementary School and funding for two alternative education positions that previously were funded by a grant.

The elementary school position is one that was not filled after the closure of Madison Paper Industries in 2016 caused a loss of tax valuation, said school board Chairman Bruce Thebarge.

The budget also includes $71,282 in new funding for an alternative education teacher and education technician.

The alternative education program, which started this year with grant funding, is a hands-on learning program for students who haven’t performed well in a traditional classroom, Levesque said.

The positions will be shared with Anson-based Regional School Unit 74 and Bingham-based School Administrative District 13, and those districts will reimburse SAD 59 for some of the $71,282 cost.

The budget also includes a 2 percent raise for administrative assistants and a 6.85 percent increase in health insurance costs.

A budget information meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 29 in the Madison Junior High School cafeteria, followed by the district budget meeting at 7 p.m. May 6 at the same location.

The budget validation referendum is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 14 at the Madison Town Office.

In other news Monday, the board also approved, 6-0, the addition of a foreign language teacher at Madison Area Memorial High School for 2019-2020.

Since 2016 the district has been using a Rosetta Stone computer program after struggling to find a foreign language teacher. Principal Jessica Ward said Monday the program hasn’t been successful and isn’t liked by students.

“Being in a community where we do not have a lot of diversity, she’s done a lot globally where she connects with students in France and Canada,” Ward said of the teacher. “I think you don’t get that with Rosetta Stone.”

Board member Tammy Carrier, the only member who did not vote on hiring the teacher, expressed concern about the cost of the teacher in addition to the Rosetta Stone program, which the district is currently in a three-year contract with.

“At the end of the high school year, how many kids really benefit from a teacher or Rosetta Stone?” she said. “And we have so many other costs.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected] 

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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