Residents at the polls this week approved a $28.2 million budget for Fairfield-based Maine School Administrative District 49.

All four towns in the district — Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield — held elections Tuesday that included two district referendum questions. The first concerned approval of the MSAD 49 annual budget, which passed overall, 1,003 to 636.

That vote broken down by each town was Albion 139 to 112, Benton 147 to 113, Clinton 245 to 185 and Fairfield 472 to 226.

The 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.

Although the budget has increased this year, the amount 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 previously said, which means the district is getting more money from the state compared to past years.

That means the amount to be raised this year by the four towns is just over $10 million, compared to $10.95 million last year.

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.

The second question from the district asked if residents for the next three years would approve the current referendum process to OK the school budget. That question was also approved, by a vote of 1,166 to 469.

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