MACHIAS, Maine — More than 45 people attended the Machias school district budget meeting Tuesday night, handily approving all 17 articles of the $4 million budget.
Consistently voting against every single article — including the one that approved accepting federal and state grants — was Danny Manchester, a selectman from the Kennebec section of town.
Manchester said he also refused to sign the budget in his capacity as selectman.
“I don’t think [the school board] did a very good job,” Manchester said. “We got $120,000 more from the state [in revenue], but they only passed $8,000 in savings on to the taxpayers.”
Manchester said he has a strong objection to the many superintendents’ agreements that are costing the Machias taxpayers.
He explained that there are 43 children attending kindergarten through grade eight and 10 students attending Machias Memorial High School under superintendents’ agreements with neighboring communities. The tuition rate, which is set by the state, for each one of those students is $750 less than what it costs Machias to educate them.
“It is costing the surrounding towns less than it should,” Manchester said. “The board should have passed on more money to Machias taxpayers.”
During the discussion of the articles, Superintendent Scott Porter said that the budget would save $8,221.89 over last year’s taxes, resulting in a 1.45 mill reduction.
“This budget will not make the taxes in Machias go up,” Porter said. “We cut a custodian. We cut staff. Those were tough decisions.”
Of the $4 million budget, Machias will raise $965,912 for the basic foundation allocation. It will raise an additional $530,867 for costs above and beyond the state’s Essential Programs and Services Funding Act.
The overall budget was $48,207 less for 2010-11 than for 2009-10.
Anticipated revenues include $1.4 million in state funding, $549,000 in tuition for elementary students, and $450,000 in high school tuition.