Therese Acord, center, a member of the town’s budget committee, speaks to the Richmond school committee during a public hearing on the school budget Thursday in Richmond. School committee members at the meeting approved an $8.2 million spending plan, which now goes before voters at the annual town meeting June 4. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

RICHMOND — The school committee finalized a proposed $8.2 million school budget Thursday night in a unanimous vote after a quick public hearing.

The budget will now go before voters at the annual town meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, at the Richmond High School gym, when residents will also weigh in on the municipal budget.

Richmond School Department interim Superintendent Bob Webster on Thursday presented the final draft of the proposed school budget. It represents a 3.99% increase over this year’s spending, which met the school committee’s goal to pass a budget with an increase under 4%.

The vote came after committee members last week agreed by a 4-1 vote to cut $27,000 out of the budget. To make that cut, a vacant special education position was eliminated at Richmond High School, with a special education technician to be hired instead, replacing one position with a less-costly one.

Webster said that was the best way to cut such a small amount of money, and that because of the way the special education program is structured, students will still have plenty of support.

 “The (students) are not in the class all at once, they’re throughout the day with the teachers,” Webster explained. “Sometimes there are two or three students at a time, or six or seven.” 


Before the vote, the school committee held a public hearing for the budget and answered a few questions from the town’s municipal budget committee.

Bob Webster, interim superintendent for Richmond schools, responds during a public hearing at the Richmond school committee meeting Thursday in Richmond. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

During the public hearing, Therese Acord, a member of Richmond’s budget committee, said the committee wishes it got the chance to speak with the school committee in the budget’s earlier stages. Acord said the budget committee will have questions for the board once members get a chance to thoroughly review the school budget.

Amanda McDaniel, chair of the school committee, agreed to have a discussion with the town’s budget committee earlier in the budget process next year.

McDaniel also pointed out that it’s the Richmond School Department’s first budget process, as the withdrawal committee created the budget last year. Richmond withdrew from Regional School Unit 2 in November 2022 but was not its own official district until July 1, 2023. 

“I talked with several people and it seems it was a tradition in Richmond (to meet with the budget committee), so if that continues to be the case for next year, I invite you to come to the budget meeting as it forms since we are voting on it tonight,” McDaniel said.  

Last year’s school budget came in at $7.9 million, an almost $1 million increase from what Richmond contributed to RSU 2 the year before. The proposed budget for next year has around a $300,000 increase, with a local increase of $150,000 for Richmond taxpayers. 


Acord said the budget committee will review the school budget before the town meeting on June 4 and make recommendations for each of the school warrants, as the budget committee does for the town budget. 

 “The budget is going to be what it is, but we will look it over and give a recommendation,” said Acord. 

Also questioned at the hearing was the school department’s decision to hire a part-time business manager, as the district already has one full-time payroll specialist. Webster said the part-time hire will oversee the budget and take care of the school department’s long-term financial matters, away from the every-day situations the payroll director handles.

Later in the meeting, Ashley Hide was hired for the part-time role at $45,000 for 104 days out of the year.

The committee on Thursday also confirmed the contracts of Marcia Buker Elementary School Principal Mary Paine at $100,100; Richmond Middle and High School Principal Karl Matulis at $110,000 and John Spear at $85,000 for the combined role of dean of students and athletic director. The contracts are for two years with pay on the second year negotiable for a raise.

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