June 22, 2018
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RSU 50 to present new budget to voters

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

STACYVILLE, Maine — More than a month after voters in the 12 towns of RSU 50 turned down a proposed $9.2 million budget for the southern Aroostook County district, school officials have brought forward an alternate proposal that will go to the taxpayers on Sept. 7.

An informational hearing on the new budget will be held at Katahdin High School on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m., district officials confirmed on Friday.

More than 700 people turned out for the referendum vote on June 30. Although the initial budget sailed through a public hearing in May, residents voted 402-301 to turn it down.

The new RSU is made up of the former SAD 25 and CSD 9. Its communities include Dyer Brook, Crystal, Hersey, Island Falls, Merrill, Moro, Mount Chase, Oakfield, Patten, Sherman, Smyrna and Stacyville.

The new budget is $252,000 lower than the first budget presented to voters. The reductions include leaving vacant four teaching positions at the district’s two elementary schools.

The district received less money from the state for education this year. For the 2011-2012 school year, RSU 50 will receive $4.7 million from the state, which is down close to $110,000 from last year. A $161,928 reduction in federal stimulus funds also factored into the budget.

Another obstacle was the $450,000 loss in income and other revenue from last year.

As was the case in SAD 29 in Houlton, the RSU has had to raise more money as its local share for education in order to receive full state aid. The required local share is $2.3 million, which is up 2.5 percent from last year.

If the budget passes, the community of Sherman will see a $61,533 increase to its local share of the budget. Patten will see an increase of $71,902. The other towns will see a decrease in their shares.

The school board approved the use of $400,000 in surplus funds to offset taxation.

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