March 21, 2018
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Millinocket voters reject school budget, again

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Residents voting in a special referendum rejected for a second time a town school budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said Wednesday.

Voters rejected the proposed $7.04 million budget by a 358-141 vote, which was held Tuesday, Conlogue said.

The vote came a few weeks after a Town Council vote of 4-3 to cut the Millinocket School Committee’s proposed budget by about $64,000, effectively removing an unfilled assistant principal position at Stearns High School of Millinocket, Conlogue said.

The school committee’s latest budget complied with a council wish to keep the town tax rate from increasing, Conlogue said. The council voted to cut an earlier committee-proposed budget of $7.23 million budget by $305,128 on June 2 because councilors wanted to keep the tax rate from increasing.

The council’s first cut was so unusual that then-Superintendent Sara Alberts said that for the first time in her more than 20-year career issued a flier addressed to voters urging them to reject a budget that she said “sends teaching and learning backwards in time.”

In an 855-581 vote, residents rejected the proposed $6.98 million school budget on June 8 after unusually heavy polling activity.

Though he said he felt that the most recent vote was dominated by school personnel or people with ties to the school system, Conlogue said that the voters’ wishes are and will be respected. The council and school committee are working to set a meeting within the next two weeks at which the budget process will restart, he said.

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