FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 budget for 2021-22 has been approved by voters in the district’s ten towns, according to uncertified results. The budget was set at $38.9 million for kindergarten through 12th grade and $477,406 for adult education. Voters also approved two additional articles that give the board of directors the ability to alter funds and spending.

The RSU 9 warrant was presented to voters in four articles. Article 1 on the $38.9 million K-12 budget passed 619-241. Article 2 on the $477,406 adult-ed budget passed 648-212.

Uncertified results of Articles 1 and 2, the K-12 and adult-ed budgets, respectively were:

Chesterville: 30 yes, 22 no; 28 yes, 24 no.

Farmington: 206 yes, 49 no, 1 blank; 215 yes, 40 no, 1 blank.

Industry: 25 yes, 10 no; 25 yes, 10 no.

New Sharon: 57 yes, 36 no; 63 yes, 30 no.

New Vineyard: 30 yes, 41 no; 28 yes, 43 no.

Starks: 32 yes, 1 no; 30 yes, 3 no.

Temple: 26 yes, 17 no; 33 yes, 10 no.

Vienna: 25 yes, 6 no; 26 yes, 5 no.

Weld: 26 yes, 8 no; 26 yes, 8 no.

Wilton: 162 yes, 51 no; 174 yes, 39 no.

The school budget will cost taxpayers across the 10 towns in the district $13.7 million, a $397,300 (2.99%) increase from the 2020-21 budget.

Larger towns like Farmington and Wilton will foot more of the bill with a $4.9 million and $2.8 million cost to tax payers, respectively. However their shares increased by only 2.91% and 0.78%, respectively. Meanwhile, towns with a smaller share of the school district budget like Starks, Temple, and New Vineyard saw larger increases in their cost to taxpayers with 6.55%, 6.05%, and 5.06% increases, respectively.

The percentage a town contributes to the school budget is based on town valuations determined by the state, according to interim Superintendent Monique Poulin.

Interim Superintendent Monique Poulin explained during the Tuesday, May 25, budget hearing that the 2.99% ($397,300) increase in the RSU 9 budget’s cost to taxpayers is because of a reduction in overall state aid. Screenshot

Voters also approved additional articles regarding the spending of additional funds in different cost centers. According to uncertified results, Article 3 passed 655-179 and Article 4 passed 644-190.

Article 3 authorizes the school board “to use all or part of the additional state subsidy to increase expenditures for school purposes … and/or decrease the local cost share expectations” if “RSU receives more state education subsidy than the amount included in its budget.”

Article 3 was especially relevant this year because the district could receive a “potential increase of $800,000,” according to Poulin, due to changes in the state budget. Gov. Janet Mills has proposed a 55% increase of the state’s share of public school funding of essential service costs.

Article 4 authorizes the school board to “transfer amounts exceeding 5% of the total appropriation for any cost center to another cost center … provided that transfers shall not be permitted to increase the authorized total school budget.”

This article is useful in times like the COVID-19 pandemic where unexpected needs arise, Poulin said in her presentation of the budget warrant.

Results of Articles 3 and 4, respectively were:

Chesterville: 35 yes, 16 no, 1 blank; 32 yes, 19 no, 1 blank.

Farmington: 217 yes, 39 no; 208 yes, 48 no.

Industry: 27 yes, 7 no, 1 blank; 27 yes, 7 no, 1 blank.

New Sharon: 65 yes, 25 no, 3 blank; 65 yes, 25 no, 3 blank.

New Vineyard: 33 yes, 28 no, 10 blank; 36 yes, 25 no, 10 blank.

Starks: 26 yes, 1 no, 6 blank; 25 yes, 2 no, 6 blank.

Temple: 32 yes, 11 no; 28 yes, 15 no.

Vienna: 26 yes, 5 no; 27 yes, 4 no.

Weld: 28 yes, 6 no; 29 yes, 5 no.

Wilton: 166 yes, 41 no, 6 blank; 167 yes, 40 no, 6 blank.

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