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RSU 73 to vote on school budget on July 14

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JAY – Residents of the Regional School Unit 73 towns will vote on a proposed $20.16 million budget at the state referendum on July 14.

The $20,160,842 budget for K-12 students would represent an increase of roughly $593,000 over the current fiscal year, or 3.03 percent, as described by Superintendent Scott Albert at a public hearing on the budget conducted via Zoom teleconferencing Tuesday evening. The hearings are replacing the typical, in-person budget meeting at school districts across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increases to the budget include insurance and wage increases – 3 percent for teachers, 2.64 percent for custodians and 1 percent for ed techs and building administrators – as well as two additional ed tech positions to assist with math and literacy and creating a full-time resource room teacher at Spruce Mountain Middle School. The budget also includes a part-time Section 504 coordinator who will work with students qualifying for assistance through that program. Major reductions to the budget include paying only one superintendent, as the final year of the former superintendent’s contract has been paid off, as well as reducing the previous budget’s $195,000 contingency down to $100,000.

If approved as proposed, Albert said at Tuesday’s meeting, the budget would represent a reduction of $11,382 in Jay’s assessment, an increase of $99,466 in Livermore’s assessment and an increase of $132,464 in Livermore Falls’ assessment.

This year’s referendum will include four questions this year, with the first asking voters if they wish to approve the $20.16 million K-12 budget, raising $7.35 million locally.

The second question would provide authorization to the RSU 73 school board to transfer funds between cost centers, provided the transfers don’t increase the total school budget. Albert said that the district’s legal counsel had recommended utilizing that authorization if a curtailment of state subsidy relating to the pandemic and associated economic downturn should occur during the next fiscal year. While the budget itself could not be increased, Albert said that the question would allow the board to make necessary adjustments.

Question three authorizes RSU 73 to appropriate roughly $845,000 for the district’s food service program, with each of the three towns paying $68,988 as their local share.

Question four would approve the adult education budget. The proposed adult education budget is $378,938, with each town paying $65,000, the same as the previous fiscal year.

Polls will be open in each town on July 14 for the state referendum.

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