CARIBOU, Maine — Voters who make up the new regional school unit in the Caribou area approved a $19.5 million budget for the combined districts on Wednesday evening 292-107.
The Eastern Aroostook RSU consists of the Caribou School Department, the Limestone Community School and the Stockholm School.
Frank McElwain, superintendent of the Eastern Aroostook RSU, said Thursday that voter turnout was low.
McElwain said this year’s budget decreased $221,764 over the three combined budgets last year. The new RSU received additional state funding and federal stimulus money and also saw savings from the formation of the RSU.
McElwain said the RSU laid off eight employees.
“We did reduce some staff positions due to declining enrollment,” he said Thursday. “It was not driven by finances, but it was a prudent decision to make due to economic conditions.”
The superintendent said the RSU was handicapped by the short timeline officials had to put the budget together.
“The RSU board didn’t elect members until mid-May, so there was not a lot of time to learn about the budget and talk about it in detail as there was in past years,” said McElwain.
McElwain said students and staffers would see few changes due to the formation of the RSU. All of the schools in the RSU will remain open under the same names.
The Limestone School Department had a part-time superintendent in McElwain, who now will oversee the entire RSU.
The Stockholm School had a part-time superintendent as well, but that superintendent also oversees other area schools and will continue to do so.