Voters nix increases in SAD 29 spending

Posted June 19, 2009, at 8:48 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:46 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — The SAD 29 school board will start the budget process all over again after taxpayers in the district refused to pass the $11.5 million budget offered to them during a June 16 referendum.

District officials said Friday that the school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, June 22, to discuss the vote and give Superintendent Steve Fitzpatrick a direction to go in.

SAD 29 consists of the towns of Houlton, Hammond, Littleton and Monticello.

A tiny percentage of the district’s voters showed up at the polls on June 16 and voted 80-71 to oppose the budget.

The school board at its special session Monday will discuss next steps, and another budget hearing and referendum will be held in the near future.

This year’s proposed budget increased $271,384 over the 2008-09 budget, which Superintendent Steve Fitzpatrick said was related in part to contracts being renegotiated this year and in 2010.

Last year, the district bought one school bus instead of two, and SAD 29 saw maintenance fees for its bus fleet increase. Energy costs also were a factor.

For two years, the district has been able to hold its budget at approximately $11.2 million by implementing cuts and cost saving measures.

Monday’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the superintendent’s conference room at Houlton High School.

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