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Updated: Mt. Blue school budget passes

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[Updated 9:05 p.m.: We’ve updated this story to include the Vienna results]

FARMINGTON – Voters in the 10-member towns of Mt. Blue Regional School District decided against sending the budget back to the school board Tuesday, approving a $32 million budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The $32,043,907 budget represents an increase of $1 million over the previous fiscal year, or 3.2 percent.

Higher turnouts in some towns gave the budget a boost, with a total of 999 ‘yes’ votes and 892 ‘no’ votes cast, according to preliminary, unofficial totals from the town clerks. Farmington saw a 200-vote uptick, all but one of them in favor of the revised budget, while the towns of Temple, Vienna and Industry saw smaller increases that either closed or reduced the yes/no gap.

Wilton saw a large decrease in turnout, from 546 total votes to 372, with more than two-thirds of the decrease impacting the no vote count. Unlike today’s vote, the June 9 referendum had included a vote for a contested selectman’s seat.

In general, the turnout was up approximately 200 votes across the entire district. Six towns were in favor of the budget: Farmington, Wilton, Weld, Starks, Industry and Vienna, and four towns were opposed: Chesterville, New Sharon, New Vineyard and Temple.

After voters rejected the $32.2 million budget that came out of the June 1 budget meeting at the polls on June 9, the school board proposed $200,000 in local budget cuts. Those cuts, which included approximately two positions, supply line reductions and reducing a special education contingency line in half, were then approved by residents attending a second, districtwide budget meeting on June 21.

The budget also incorporates an extra $25 million in state subsidy that was appropriated by the Legislature as part of a 2-year, $80 million General Aid to Education to reduce the education mil rate. That decision was made after the first June school district budget votes. That rate, which sets the amount of money each town must raise to receive subsidy, will fall from 8.41 to 8.23. Last year’s education mil rate was 8.1.  For MBRSD, that extra subsidy represents $301,000 that the towns will no longer be required to raise.

The July 28 vote of the Mt. Blue Regional School District towns
Chesterville: 29 yes, 96 no.
Farmington: 472 yes, 233 no.
Industry: 51 yes, 45 no.
New Sharon: 72 yes, 196 no.
New Vineyard: 19 yes, 70 no.
Starks: 47 yes, 8 no.
Temple: 54 yes, 57 no.
Vienna: 28 yes, 17 no.
Weld: 19 yes, 6 no.
Wilton: 208 yes, 164 no.

Total: 999 yes, 892 no. (the second budget has passed)

The June 9 vote of the Mt. Blue Regional School District towns
Chesterville: 27 yes, 108 no.
Farmington: 262 yes, 234 no.
Industry: 39 yes, 48 no.
New Sharon: 54 yes, 215 no.
New Vineyard: 12 yes, 69 no.
Starks: 31 yes, 6 no.
Temple: 20 yes, 42 no.
Vienna: 20 yes, 26 no.
Weld: 19 yes, 6 no.
Wilton: 260 yes, 286 no.

Total: 741 yes, 1,045 no. (the first budget failed to pass)

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