RSU 9 approves recommended budget for June 8 vote

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FARMINGTON – Regional School Unit 9 board members met on Tuesday night to set the school budget for the 2021-22 school year.

The board voted to set the RSU 9 school district budget at $38,860,509 and they voted to set the date for the budget referendum to June 8.

Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia presented an update to the board on bringing students back to in person learning. The district is continuing to use the same model that they have been using for bringing students back, using a number of factors for judging whether or not a student should be prioritized for coming back full time.

“The EAC unanimously supported continuing to bring students back on-site based on the factors we’ve been doing since about February,” said Columbia. “Internet connectivity, failing classes or below benchmark standards, social-emotional factors and attendance as being some of the factors we look at knowing it’s a case by case decision based on all the student factors we have.”

As of right now the district is planning for a full student return for the 2021-22 school year.

Susasn Pratt gave a COVID-19 grant update to the board, focusing on the priorities of the ESSERF II grant.

The priorities for the grant are centered on student support, which will include things such as a social worker, student laptops, and summer programming. $1,402,238 will be going directly to student support throughout the district.

“We had to put in at least 20 percent of the grant for student support, we actually have 58 percent going directly to support,” said Pratt.

Doug Dunlap motioned for an article to be put on the warrant that would authorized the board to transfer amounts exceeding 5 percent of the total appropriation for any cost center to another cost center or among other cost centers for the 2021-22 fiscal year, provided that transfers shall not be permitted increase the authorized total school budget.

Business Manager Kris Pottle presented this to the board stating the possibility that they may need to transfer more than five percent between cost centers during contract negotiations.

“We have money for negotiations… we need to put money to cover what we project may be an outcome, we have no idea what the outcome will be. So if it’s different by a large amount in one particular cost center, the board has the authority to move money from another cost center to cover it,” said Pottle.

The motion to put the article on the warrant passed, though board member Dennis O’neil believed it to be unnecessary.

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