Hampden-area residents vote to restore funding for middle school foreign language instruction

Posted June 06, 2014, at 7:40 p.m.

HAMPDEN, Maine — During their annual district business meeting on Thursday night, residents of the RSU 22 member towns of Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh and Frankfort voted to add $150,000 to their $28.8 million budget in an effort to restore middle school foreign language instruction — a program cut a year ago as a cost-cutting measure.

While the decision about bringing the program back and whether it might also be spread to students in lower grades has yet to be made, Assistant Superintendent Emil Genest said Friday that foreign language instruction for students in grades eight and under has been identified as a priority in the district.

The additional funding added Thursday night pushed the district budget total to $28,988,498, up $653,289 or 2.3 percent from this year, Genest said.

Superintendent Rick Lyons said earlier that the proposed 2014-15 budget will require more in local tax dollars because of a $66,000 drop in state aid, a 7.5 percent hike in health insurance costs and an additional $310,000 in teacher and support staff contract costs.

Genest said that if the budget is approved in a district-wide validation vote on Tuesday, Hampden’s share will be $6,015,691, Newburgh’s share will be $997,138, Winterport’s share will be $2,503,861 and Frankfort’s contribution will be $795,177.

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