Sunday, December 8, 2013
Finally, Regional School Unit 4 will start the school year with a budget in place.
Voters in Litchfield, Wales and Sabattus approved a school budget on their third try Tuesdayt, 395–275, with 59 percent of 670 voters approving it.
The $17.6 million budget is an increase of $25,978, or 0.15 percent, over last year's.
It was projected to increase the local appropriation by 6.1 percent in Litchfield, 12.4 percent in Sabattus and 10.6 percent in Wales.
Sabattus voted no on the first budget in June, sending it to defeat. On a second attempt in July, both Sabattus and Wales opposed the budget.
On Tuesday, every town voted in favor, but Sabattus did it by the narrowest margin, 175–152. Litchfield passed it 120–61 and Wales approved it by a 100–62 margin.
After the July defeat, the school board responded by cutting $69,000 from the technology budget, ending the plan to buy an iPad for every student in kindergarten through third grade, which many residents said was wasteful and would not improve education. There will still be some iPads for students in the youngest grades to share.
The school board also created new activity fees at Oak Hill Middle School and doubled the activity fees at Oak Hill High School to bring in an estimated $15,000 in non-tax revenue.
In previous rounds, the board had cut nine jobs, resulting in the end of Project reach at the middle school and the district's Spanish program, plus a loss of four teachers at the high school, one at Carrie Ricker School and one at Libby-Tozier Elementary School.