June 19, 2018
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Next year’s Unity, Thorndike area school budget to cost 4.7 percent more in local assessment

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

UNITY, Maine — For the sixth year in a row, the RSU 3 school budget is meeting the district’s goal of being either flat or less than it was the previous year.

And yet, due to decreased state and federal revenues, the budget that recently was approved by the school district’s board of directors will show a local assessment increase of $260,000, or 4.7 percent over last year’s, according to RSU 3 Superintendent Heather Perry.

“The story is the loss in revenue,” she said Thursday. “Since 2008, we’ve lost a total of $4.2 million in revenue.”

The budget for the district, which includes the towns of Unity, Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville and Thorndike, is set at $19.25 million, she said, representing $21,000 less in overall expenditures than the previous year. She said that the budget as approved includes a shift in costs for teacher retirement from the state to the local level.

According to Perry, since 2008 the district has cut a total of 25 teaching positions and six social work positions, principals and administrators. Last year, the French program was given the ax and the geographically far-flung district’s two bus runs were combined into one to save costs.

The district’s voters are given the chance to vote on each article in the proposed budget during a meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Mount View Middle School in Thorndike. After that, the budget will go to a validation referendum, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 11, Perry said.

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