FARMINGTON — The Regional School Unit 9 board of directors voted unanimously on Tuesday, Oct. 10, to approve a revision to the Foster Career and Technical Education Center [FCTEC] cooperative agreement. The changes to the agreement, which serves as a way to plan, develop, and coordinate educational services for vocational students enrolled at FCTEC, were done to impart a greater distribution of control over financial decisions among the four districts.

The four districts involved in the agreement are RSU 9, MSAD 58, RSU 73 and RSU 78. Work on the revisions began sometime last year according to RSU 9 Superintendent Christian Elkington, and he stated at the board of directors meeting they had gone through six drafts before finalizing the revisions.

“The big thing for this agreement is, as I’ve shared with people,” Elkington shared at the meeting. “in the last several years, or a decade and a half or so, we’ve just signed a document, and we really didn’t follow it.”

The revised agreement will place approval of the annual budget in the hands of an advisory board, which is comprised of the superintendent [or a designee] and one school board member from each district. Previously, the budget for the FCTEC was part of RSU 9 annual budget, with the board of directors being the ones to approve the budget. According to Elkington, the burden of FCTEC’s budget, and all decisions regarding it, should be shared among all four districts.

“Under the old way,” he stated. “RSU 9 just made all the decisions, and everybody was good with that until I brought up the point that that’s not really what you do in an organization that is supposed to have four communities.”

Moving forward, the FCTEC budget will be approved by the advisory board, and the approved budget will be sent to RSU 9 to be added to the warrant.


According to Elkington, changes to the how FCTEC, along with other career and technical education centers across the state, processes funding has been in flux since Paul LePage’s time as Governor of the state. Previously, funding was allocated to the school, which would then send the money to the centers. Under LePage, funding for FCTEC, and others like it, were sent directly to the center.

With those changes, concerns over how much influence they would have on the budget grew among the three other school districts. “The funding formula was the biggest concern,” Elkington stated. “If we went above the allotted money, there was a concern that they would have no say in determining the budget.”

The revision removes elected positions such as ‘chairperson’ and ‘vice chairperson’, with Elkington serving this role with FCTEC Director Melissa Williams serving as an ex-officio member of the advisory board and recording secretary. All parties will have one vote to give instead of two and regular monthly meetings will be held beginning in September and ending in May.

“This agreement clarifies the importance of everyone coming to meetings,” Elkington added, “and it clarifies that everybody has a say in the process.”

“We have a system set up here now where one of the districts may not approve the budget,” Director Joshua Robbins of Vienna stated to the board. “What’s going to happen to their students coming to FCTEC if we set a budget among the four districts, and then one of them or two of them decide they don’t want to approve that budget on their warrant?”

“In theory, you could reduce the number of students that they be allowed to send,” Elkington responded.

Director Greg Kimber of Temple asked to clarify that the other districts have been allocating their share of the cost for FCTEC despite not having much involvement in the budget process.

Elkington confirmed they were putting in their fair share, adding, “It has not been an issue. This is the ‘what if’ scenario, but there has not been an issue to this point and we don’t see one in the near future.”

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