HERMON, Maine — Residents approved an $11.6 million school budget Wednesday night during a sparsely attended special town meeting.
About 35 voters turned out at Hermon Middle School for the meeting, which Town Clerk Carol Davis said lasted about 35 minutes. Voters who attended approved all 25 warrant articles as proposed and without debate, she said.
Town Manager Clinton Deschene said Tuesday that while the $11,591,262 for the 2010-11 school year reflects a decrease of about 7.5 percent from this year’s $12,511,684 budget, it will require more local support.
He said more town tax dollars will be needed next fiscal year, primarily to cover the town’s debt service for school building and repair projects and to meet the minimum amount that the town must provide in school funding in order to be eligible for state aid to education.
On Wednesday, Superintendent Patricia Duran pegged the increase in the town’s local share at almost 17 percent.
According to Duran, the School Department will see an estimated $750,000 drop in funding from the state in the year ahead. She also pointed out that the amount of “carry forward” funds, or money left over from one budget year that can be applied to the next, has decreased.
Duran said that while the pared budget won’t result in cuts to educational programs, it will require the elimination of the equivalent of seven jobs, two of which are teaching positions at Hermon High School and two of which are educational technician posts at the elementary school level. Also being eliminated are a custodian position and two positions in the information services department.
Despite the loss of the high school teaching positions, which are in the business education area, high school students will continue to have access to the courses, which are slated to be added next year at United Technologies Center, the region’s career and technical education high school.
Wednesday’s special town meeting was the first of two voter approvals required by the state, Deschene said. He said that voters would be asked to approve school funding again during the annual town meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10, in the Hermon High School audito-rium.