Friday, December 6, 2013
NEWPORT — Regional School Unit 19 voters will consider a $22.65 million school budget Tuesday after an initial attempt to adopt a budget failed in June.
WHERE TO VOTE
Voting for Newport-based Regional School Unit's annual budget is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today in the following places:
Corinna, at Fire Department annex;
Dixmont, at Town Office;
Etna, at Town Office;
Hartland, at Town Hall;
Newport, at town recreation center;
Palmyra, at old Town Hall;
Plymouth, at Town Office;
St. Albans, at Town Office.
The revised budget includes a roughly $200,000 decrease in the local contribution, said Greg Potter, superintendent of RSU 19.
On June 18, voters rejected a $22.7 million budget, 457–400.
Potter said that since then the district has received an additional $141,800 in state funding that will help lower costs.
"I think we've achieved what we told people we would do. We are asking for support and think it is important that everyone gets out there and votes," Potter said. Communities in the Newport-based district are Corinna, Dixmont, Etna, Hartland, Newport, Palmyra, Plymouth and St. Albans.
Overall, the proposed $22.65 million budget is about 3 percent less than the current $23.3 million school budget. Potter said that although the cost of education has decreased, the district also has been faced with a state requirement to assume roughly $300,000 in teacher retirement costs and a $400,000 loan payment that was adopted after the district announced it was in a financial crisis this spring.
That means that the district has had to make about $1.5 million in cuts, including the loss of about 20 teachers, Potter said. He said there will be no cuts to programs for students.
In March, voters in six towns approved a $2.8 million loan that the district will pay off over the course of 10 years. Residents in Dixmont and Etna voted to pay the entire share of their debt at once. The $2.0 million debt that the district accrued over the course of two years was a result of poor administrative oversight, according to the district website.
Potter, who became superintendent in July 2012, said the district is in a much better financial place than it was a year ago.
"These fiscal errors are not going to reoccur. We have polices in place from preventing this from happening again," he said.
Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at designated polling places in each town.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368