FORT KENT, Maine — In back-to-back meetings Thursday night SAD 27 voters approved a proposed budget of more than $10 million for the school district and for the newly formed Alternative Organizational Structure.
Residents of SAD 10 in Allagash, the second member of the AOS, were set to address their district’s budget at a public meeting Friday night and had scheduled a vote on a $243,342 budget.
Voters in SAD 27 and SAD 10 will go to the polls for a final district and AOS budget referendum on Tuesday.
In May voters from both districts approved a referendum creating the AOS in accordance with state law requiring school administration consolidation.
While the two districts now operate as one entity with a single administrative center, both retain autonomy when it comes to budgetary and personnel matters.
SAD 27 Superintendent Patrick O’Neill accepted the position as administrative head of the newly formed AOS.
The two districts also opted to consolidate special education services and transportation under the single AOS administration.
At Thursday’s meeting in Fort Kent, SAD 27 residents approved $402,744 for the AOS administration, $92,159 for special education and $65,559 for transportation.
Voters also approved the $10,856,454 district budget that includes a $3,552,149 local share.
“This budget is a good budget, [and] the school committee has looked at it five different ways,” James O’Malley, SAD 27 school committee chairman, said. “We have cut as many corners as we can safely.”
The 16-article budget warrant passed with little discussion.
State law now requires all school budgets go to referendum, and O’Neill said the district must now wait and see what the voters decide on Tuesday.
“We are hearing now particular issues on the budget as presented,” he said. “We hope that means when people go to the polls on Tuesday it is approved.”
Holding a budget meeting before that referendum, O’Neill added, “gives the voters a chance to weigh in.”