FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors on Tuesday night authorized that a proposed $38.9 million budget for 2021-22 may go before the public.

Interim Superintendent Monique Poulin is expected to present the proposed budget to district communities next Tuesday. The RSU 9 board is scheduled to vote on the budget May 25.

The proposed spending plan represents a $673,585 increase to the current $38.2 million budget.

The board also approved the proposed $477,406 adult education budget, which includes a $223,453 local allocation.

The budget is separate from the district’s K-12 budget, and will appear in a separate article on town warrants.

Officials said the goals that steered the latest budgeting process were the health and safety of the RSU 9 community, increasing on-site learning safely, staff support and retention through competitive wages, transparency and a fiscally responsible and balanced approach.

The state contributes 66.86% of the district’s funding if member towns raise a minimum of 33.14%, according to officials.

Poulin said the district typically raises more than the minimum.

Board member Doug Dunlap, who also sits on the budget subcommittee, said the majority of tax increases to local communities are below $40,000.

“Three of our communities (Vienna, Weld and Wilton) have less than $20,000 of increase,” Dunlap said, “and nine of our 10 communities have under $40,000 of increase, so I think that’s important information to place before the public.”

Farmington would have the largest increase at $129,737.

Declining enrollment is expected to affect the district’s essential programs and services, or EPS, state funding, whose formula is based on a two-year enrollment average.

“We have a decrease in enrollment by about 200 students this year,” Poulin said, “and we’ve shared that number before. Given the circumstances — people are home schooling their students, sending them to private schools, charter schools, online schools — we don’t anticipate that to be the case in the fall, although it’s hard to guarantee that.”

RSU 9 now enrolls 2,303 students, and the two-year enrollment decline average is 109 students.

 

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