Newport-area voters send $22.65 million school budget out to ballot

Posted Aug. 01, 2013, at 5:35 a.m.

NEWPORT, Maine — Residents in eight member towns voted to send RSU 19’s 2013-2014 school year budget out to a referendum ballot for a second time.

A budget figure of $22,650,503 will be approved or denied by voters during a districtwide vote on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Absentee ballots will be available starting Thursday.

The referendum vote will be the second for the 2013-2014 budget.

On June 18, voters in eight towns in the district — Corinna, Dixmont, Etna, Hartland, Newport, Palmyra, Plymouth and St. Albans — rejected the $22.7 million budget for the 2013-14 school year by a tally of 457-400.

On Wednesday evening, fewer than 80 attended the district budget meeting at Nokomis Regional High School.

RSU 19 Superintendent Greg Potter blamed low voter turnout for the failure of the first budget attempt.

He said the district will send out reminders and have announcements in newspapers and other media to get out the word about the vote.

“We’ll try to make sure people are aware of what’s happening and get them involved,” Potter said after Wednesday’s meeting.

The $22.65 million figure that will be presented to voters on Aug. 20 will be $50,000 less than the proposal that was voted down in June. However, local taxpayers will actually be asked to pay $191,800 less than in the previous attempt.

Because the Legislature overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s state budget veto on June 26, there is additional funding to support the schools, explained Potter.

“RSU 19’s share is $141,800 more than we estimated we would receive,” he said.

The budget was also reduced by $50,000, due to changes in workers’ compensation rates, Potter said. There has been a reduction in workplace injuries due to improved safety procedures, he said.

Because the state is now providing the district with $141,800 more than expected, plus the $50,000 in reductions to the budget, local shares paid by towns will be reduced by nearly $200,000.

“What we’re basically looking at is [providing] about $191,800 in additional savings to the towns [as compared to the first attempt],” Potter previously said. “The state takes a higher share [of expense] and the locals get a lower share.”

Voters approved a $23,324,296 budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The proposed 2013-2014 budget will be a 2.9 percent decrease.

However, without the first of 10 payments of the $2.8 million stabilization loan, plus a shift of $309,000 in Maine State Retirement from the state to RSU 19, the budget would be a 5.9 percent decrease from the previous school year.

Including adult education, local contributions attached to the 2013-2014 budget are as follows Corinna $923,489.65; Dixmont $590,934.82; Etna $505,128.91; Hartland $1,041,463.41; Newport $2,170,676.12; Palmyra $985,995.75; Plymouth $631,498.95; St. Albans $1,300,141.19 for a total of $8,149,328.80, a 0.9 percent increase from last year.

The state is anticipated to pay $14,206,174.18, plus the district has $375,000 in revenue that it will put toward the proposed budget.

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in Mid-Maine