FAIRFIELD — After two failed referendums in June and July, the Maine School Administrative District 49’s $27.12 million budget was passed by voters Thursday.

The budget passed with a total of 373 “yes” votes to 206 “no” votes. Unofficial results in individual towns in SAD 49 were: Albion, 71 yes, 33 no; Benton, 80-38; Clinton, 93-43; and Fairfield, 129-92.

News of the budget’s approval is exciting, according to SAD 49’s newly elected Board Chairwoman Jenny Boyden.

“I am pleased that the communities have chosen to support this budget,” Boyden said.

The newly approved budget reflects at $250,834 decrease from the last spending plan which was approved by the board on July 9, but failed at referendum. In addition, there is a $36,218 decrease from the original budget which was presented in May, making this the lowest budget the school board proposed.

The school board was able to cut costs in the newest budget by rearranging a special education position between two schools and aligning the budget with changes in salaries and personnel benefits for the upcoming year. It also expects to realize savings through an anticipated decrease in the cost of natural gas.

The budget approval comes after voters rejected a $27.42 million budget in June with 586 “no” votes to 325 “yes” votes. And in July, the $27.36 million budget failed 290- 262.

Because no budget was passed before July 1, the district had been operating on an interim budget of $27.15 million.

Thursday’s successful referendum also follows a year of instability which included resignations from seven teachers, the superintendent and Lawrence High School’s assistant and head principals along with three board members from Fairfield.

But despite the turmoil that last year brought, Boyden said she and her fellow board members are feeling good about the upcoming year.

“We look forward to a great school year,” Boyden said.

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