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RSU 10 towns to vote on budget
DIXFIELD — On Tuesday, residents of the 12-town Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10 will determine the fate of a proposed $34.1 million budget for 2011-12.
On Thursday, a district-wide, town meeting-style vote will be taken prior to a referendum vote to validate the budget on Tuesday.
The proposed budget is the same as the figure that was adopted for the past two school years. However, because of the loss of federal stimulus money, and an increase in property valuation, together with increased costs for fuel, utilities, contract agreements and health care premiums, resident are asked to raise an additional $629,000 so the district can receive its share of state aid for the district’s 2,850 students.
To arrive at the $34.1 million figure, a total of 13 positions were eliminated and staff has agreed to take three unpaid furlough days. Several positions were also eliminated during the current school year. Of the position cuts, seven will involve laying off personnel. Retirements and leaving positions vacant will make up the rest.
The impact of the town assessments shows the largest increase for Dixfield ($180,762), followed by Buckfield ($123,393),
Rumford ($108,120), Mexico ($107,104), Peru ($57,799), Hartford ($36,768), Sumner ($28,778), Carthage ($21,361), Canton ($18,105) and Byron ($8,069).
Seeing decreases would be Roxbury ($47,934) and Hanover ($34,630).
Supt. Tom Ward said state valuation plays into this as well. "When the district's overall valuation goes up, we get less from the state."
Also helping the towns was that this was the third and final year of carryover monies from when the three school district became a RSU. Mexico was not helped as it took carryover funds over the first two years.
"In another year, we're finally going to start catching up the decline in property values as state valuations will not increase as much. For RSU 10, our state valuations are going to drop overall. That why I feel fairly good about the coming year, 12-13, because there will be $40 million more for general purpose aid, plus the district's state valuation is going to be less. That means we'll get more aid from the state," noted Ward.
Among the losses were the elimination of the middle school alternative education program, out-of-district placement for several students, about $45,000 in miscellaneous athletics expenses, the district tutor, a physical education teacher at Mountain Valley Middle School and several educational technician positions. Others were the Mountain Valley High School athletic director, several special education coordinators who receive stipends, a full-time special education evaluator, technology equipment, fewer workshop days and subsequently, fewer costs for substitutes, and a myriad of other cuts that often reduce full-time positions to part time.
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dirigo High School, residents from the three regions of RSU 10 will vote on the proposed budget.
Then, residents will validate the June 9 decision at referendum at polling places in each member town on Tuesday.
Voting hours and places are:
* Byron, noon to 8 p.m., Town Office;
* Canton, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Town Office;
* Carthage, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Town Office;
* Dixfield, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Swassey Torrey American Legion Hall;
* Hanover, noon to 6 p.m., Town Office;
* Mexico, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Town Hall;
* Peru, noon to 7 p.m., Town Office;
* Roxbury, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Town Office;
* Rumford, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., American Legion Post 24.
If the budget is not adopted, the RSU 10 board must act on a new budget and the approval process will be repeated.