FAIRFIELD — Residents living in Maine School Administrative District 49 communities this week approved 16 articles that comprise the district’s proposed $28.2 million budget and now the spending plan goes before voters in June.

MSAD 49 held its annual budget hearing Monday where residents of Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield reviewed the articles before approving them.

The hearing was held in person for the first time in two years, and more than 30 residents attended.

The meeting moved quickly, with little discussion on the articles. Voters on June 14 will see three questions on the ballot: the summarized budget for $28.2 million, and then proposed appropriations for the school nutrition program and the adult education program.

The proposed budget represents a 2.3% increase from last year. That does not include the roughly $50,000 for the school nutrition program and the approximately $154,000 for the adult education program.

The 2.3% increase is lower than the original budget request, which amounted to a 5% increase. The district budget last year had decreased by just less than 1%.


Although the budget has increased this year, the amount that each town must pay is lower. There were several one-time adjustments to the formulas used to calculate funds from the state, Superintendent Roberta Hersom said, which means the district is getting more money from the state compared to past years.

Last year the total amount to be raised from the four towns was $10.95 million; this year that number has dropped to just more than $10 million.

Albion’s share this year is roughly $1.5 million, lower by almost $130,000; Benton’s is $2.2 million, a decrease of more than $219,000; Clinton’s share is $2.2 million, a drop of more than $150,000; and Fairfield’s share is roughly $4 million, a decrease of about $437,000 from last year.

Increases to the operating budget are largely driven by salary adjustments and insurance costs, Hersom said.

Each town holds a separate referendum for the budget, although it must pass based on a majority of all district voters, not by individual towns. If the spending package is rejected by voters, then the process begins anew.

Voters have rejected the district’s budget before. In 2019 residents voted down the budget twice before passing a third version in September of that year.

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