Franklin Countys First News

MSAD 58, RSU 9 towns to vote on budgets Tuesday

Voters in Maine School Administrative District 58 and Regional School Unit 9 towns will have their final say on their respective budgets Tuesday, June 11, with validation referendums being held in all 14 towns.

In MSAD 58, residents of Avon, Kingfield, Phillips and Strong will cast ballots on the $9.74 million budget for K-12 education approved at the May 28 district-wide meeting. That budget would represent an increase of $329,578 in expenditures over the current fiscal year, or 3.5 percent.

On the revenue side, the district would pick up an additional $192,000 in state subsidy, up to $3.44 million, with $4.3 million to be raised by the towns. Another big component of the district's revenue is the $1.4 million it is projected to receive for student tuition from Carrabassett Valley and the Unorganized Territories.

As proposed, the budget would result in $291,000 in additional local assessment - or 7.2 percent - apportioned between the four towns in accordance with their state valuation numbers. Specifically, Avon would see a $45,697 increase in its local assessment, or 9.4 percent; Kingfield would see an increase of $87,224, or 5.6 percent; Phillips would see an increase of $79,695, or 8.1 percent; and Strong would see an increase of $78,305, or 7.7 percent.

In addition to rising health insurance costs and negotiated staff salary increases, the budget includes an additional guidance position at the cost of roughly $65,000, as well as $10,000 to add a couple days of clerical support.

Polls will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations: the Avon Municipal building, Webster Hall in Kingfield, the Phillips Town Office and the Forster Memorial Building in Strong.

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In RSU 9, voters will either validate or reject the $37.1 million budget approved at the May 28 meeting. That budget includes an increase of $1.58 million or 4.44 percent over the current fiscal year.

If validated at the June 11 vote, the budget would result in a local tax increase of $36,050, or .27 percent over the entire district. The majority of the budget increase would be covered by state funding, with RSU 9 receiving an additional $1.07 million. The biggest reason for the increase to state funding is RSU 9's climbing enrollment, with an extra 59 students bringing additional funding into a district that added 118 students in the previous two years.

If the budget is validated as proposed, Chesterville will see a $8,723 increase, or .83 percent; Farmington will see a $50,102 increase, or 1.05 percent; Industry will see a $8,695 increase, or .94 percent; New Sharon will see a decrease of $3,201, or a reduction of .31 percent; New Vineyard will see an increase of $21,846, or 2.94 percent; Starks will see an increase of $17,989, or 3.88 percent; Temple will see an increase of $7,347 or 1.73 percent; Vienna will see an increase of $8,559 or 1.19 percent; Weld will see a decrease of $27,352, a reduction of 5.22 percent; and Wilton will see a decrease of $56,657, or a reduction of 2.01 percent.

Increases include adding a currently-active Cape Cod Hill School teaching position to the budget, after funding the position out of contingency this year, a half-time social worker position at Mt. Blue High School, a two-day-a-week nurse at W.G. Mallett, increasing a secretary position at Mt. Blue Middle School to full time and a behavioral ed tech interventionist and a quarter-time social worker at Cape Cod Hill School.

The budget also includes 2.5 percent increases in salary for teachers and 5 percent for support staff.

Special Education is expected to increase by $575,000, or 10.38 percent, to meet the needs of students within the district.

The budget includes reforming the Pathway for All Learners program at the grade 3 to 5 level, by hiring a social worker and a Board Certified Behavior Specialist instead of the previously envisioned Special Education teacher and three ed techs. Instead of transporting students to a central location like the K to 2 program, the grade 3 to 5 program would bring services to students in their specific schools.

Two buses would be purchased if the budget were approved as presented. The combined cost to the district for both buses would be $51,000 on a $206,000 purchase thanks to the Volkswagen emissions scandal settlement, which would pay the bulk of the cost. Facility improvements would include safety upgrades such as cameras, doors, Americans with Disability Act playground equipment and traffic studies at Cascade Brook School, MBMS and MBHS.

Poll locations and times can be seen here:

Chesterville - Noon to 8 p.m., at the Town Office
Farmington - Noon to 7 p.m., at the Community Center
Industry - 2 to 8 p.m., at the Town Office
New Sharon - Noon to 7 p.m., at the Town Office
New Vineyard - 4 to 8 p.m., at the Smith Hall
Starks - Noon to 8 p.m., at the Community Center
Temple - Noon to 5:30 p.m., at the Town Hall
Vienna - 2 to 8 p.m., at the Fire Station
Weld - 4 to 8 p.m., at the Town Office
Wilton - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Town Office

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8 Responses »

  1. Wouldn't it be a hoot if the "silent majority" showed up and voted NO? No signs. No controversy, but people who still think RSU 9 spends way too much money came and voted? Wouldn't that surprise the heck outta of the people who plan to watch this just pass....

  2. I’m really disappointed with the ballot for voting today for RSU 9. I would have liked to know ahead of time that there was going to be a second question on the ballot so I could have researched or even thought about the issue prior to voting. The wording of the question was very confusing, which frankly usually feels very suspicious.

  3. I too was surprised with the additional question. I was not surprised with the wording or point. I have been saying for some time that the time will come when we as homeowners will have no vote on the school budget.

  4. @ Farmington Resident:
    I had the same thoughts so I called my school board representative and apparently this question was never discussed by the board so it must have been a well kept secret

  5. I was also surprised. A few years ago opponents of the budget packed a meeting and made draconian cuts that the public overwhelmingly rejected. If that provision had been in place, those cuts would have become law. So I'm not sure who is benefited by having/not having a referendum.

  6. What? That was the school budget? I thought we were voting on the jail budget. Oh yeah, no tax payer say on that one.

  7. The 2008 law that governs budget validations has a built-in mechanism to allow voters to decide whether or not to continue holding validation referendums. That same question is automatically included in the referendum every three years; it doesn't have anything to do with decisions made by the school board or the district's towns.

    The pertinent law can be found here, in the Maine Revised Statutes.

  8. Thank you Administrator. I did not know that. Probably should have.

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