The Readfield-area Regional School Unit 38 school board listens to a public comment from Mount Vernon resident John Harker at Wednesday’s annual budget meeting at the Maranacook Community Middle School cafetorium. Around 50 voters passed the $22.9 million budget. Emily Duggan

READFIELD — Voters on Wednesday passed the $22.9 million Readfield-area school budget at the annual budget hearing, making no changes despite a few attempts from one member of the public to lessen the burden on taxpayers and use undesignated carryover funds to add cut positions back in the budget.

Around 50 residents of Wayne, Readfield, Manchester and Mount Vernon — the towns that make up Regional School Unit 38 — were in attendance, and voters passed all 20 warrant articles in just under an hour. The budget now goes to a June 11 referendum for a secret-ballot vote.

The budget approved Wednesday represents a 5.7% spending increase over the current year and a 6.84% average increase in the total contribution from the four towns.

The school board worked for weeks cutting the budget it would present to residents. In doing so, several positions funded by COVID-era federal spending that is no longer available were cut out of the budget. Additionally, Vice Chair Rebecca Lambert voted against the budget on April 12 and said it favored Wayne Elementary School more than the other RSU 38 schools.

John Harker, a resident of Mount Vernon and former school board member, made several attempts Wednesday to urge the public to use the school district’s undesignated funds — money left over in the budget from the previous year that does not have a designated purpose — to pay for a math education technician position that was cut from the budget and a small transportation van that coaches could use to transport students to extra curriculars, and to reduce the additional local tax burden by $450,000.

“I believe it’s critical to use the money we have to fund other things that directly impact student’s learning rather than sit tight — that’s what our tax dollars are meant to do,” he said.


Residents at the meeting, however, declined to move forward with any of his suggestions.

Mandy Fitzgerald, the school district’s business manager, said that $901,347 in carryover funds were used in the budget proposal to offset the budget’s expense to taxpayers.

Superintendent Jay Charette and Fitzgerald told Harker that the district’s auditors say the district is using enough carryover funds. By law, a school district can only carry over 5% of the previous year’s school budget, down from 9% during the COVID years.

If the budget is approved June 11, the four RSU 38 towns will be on the hook for a total increase of $983,183, with each town paying its own share.

Manchester will pay $4,724,334, an increase of $297,105.

Mount Vernon will pay $3,470,877, an increase of $180,484.


Readfield will pay $4,357,198, an increase of $300,761.

Wayne will pay $2,794,984, an increase of $204,832.

The school district also receives $800,000 in revenue for students in Fayette to attend the district’s middle and high school.

Board Chair Shawn Roderick said he is proud of the work the board, Charette and Fitzgerald put in to create the budget. Board member David Twitchell told the public to come to the board earlier in the budget process with concerns and input on cuts and what they would like to see in the budget.

“We listen to everyone as much as we can and we try to meet the needs with every school in the district for the children,” Twitchell said. “We do want to hear from you on the issues brought up tonight and other issues that come up.”

Regional School Unit 38 has 1,098 students across Wayne Elementary School, Mount Vernon Elementary School, Manchester Elementary School, Readfield Elementary School, Maranacook Community Middle School and Maranacook Community High School.

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