June 23, 2018
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Rockland-area school board considers budget changes

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Following a narrow defeat last week of the district’s proposed $27 million budget for the upcoming year, the Regional School Unit 13 board is scheduled to meet Thursday to determine whether changes should be made to the spending package before it is sent back to voters.

The budget failed 320-332 at the polls on June 11.

The budget represented a 2 percent increase, but because of less state aid, the communities would have needed to raise about $500,000 more through property taxes. Rockland would have picked up the largest share because of a change in the cost-sharing formula used by RSU 13.

The budget also called for several positions to be cut, including an art teacher, a social studies teacher and a resource room teacher, and the reduction of a technology teacher to half-time, all at Oceanside High School East.

A social studies teaching position at Oceanside West in Thomaston is also up for elimination, along with an interventionist teacher reduced to half-time at Oceanside West. Three elementary classroom teachers would also be cut — two at the South School in Rockland and one at the St. George School.

The budget had been supported at a districtwide meeting on May 29, but fewer than 50 people turned out to vote.

After the budget’s rejection at the polls, Superintendent Lewis Collins said the referendum system does not allow the board to know why people voted the way they did.

The board can leave the budget as it is, add to it or make more cuts before sending it to a district meeting and then a referendum. The referendum would likely be held in August.

The RSU 13 meeting is 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the McLain School in Rockland.

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