ELLSWORTH — Residents of the 12 municipalities that compose Regional School Unit 24 “overwhelmingly” approved last week the district’s proposed $32.3 million annual budget, according to the RSU’s superintendent.
Voters from the RSU’s member towns met May 26 to consider the proposed budget, which had been endorsed by the district’s board of directors.
After about an hour of discussion, the budget passed with little opposition.
“Each of the articles passed overwhelmingly,” Superintendent William Webster said Wednesday.
Show-of-hands votes that were required for some of the budget articles were approved with more than 80 people in favor and never more than three people opposed, Webster said.
To become final, the budget will have to be approved in a validation referendum to be held the same day as the June 8 statewide primary election. Municipalities with residents who will be asked to give final approval to the budget are Eastbrook, Ellsworth, Franklin, Gouldsboro, Hancock, Lamoine, Mariaville, Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan, Waltham and Winter Harbor.
If approved, the budget will go into effect on July 1.
Webster said the RSU administrators and the board had to reduce the budget from current levels but still had to come up with $2.5 million more in member assessments than they did a year ago because of changes in state aid and the loss of undesignated fund balance. Last year, the RSU had $3.6 million in undesignated fund balance that it could use to offset member assessments. This year, it had none.
As a result, every member town except Lamoine is expected to see its assessment for K-12 education increase for the 2010-11 academic year.
The RSU’s adult education budget is expected to decrease, however. Seven member towns will see their shares of the adult education budget shrink while five will have theirs remain at the $7,000 minimum. The RSU’s proposed budget for adult education is nearly $687,000.
More than 19,000 people are estimated to live in towns served by RSU 24. As of early April, 2,670 total pupils attended the district’s 11 schools.