Draft RSU 68 budget has local assessment up 2.95 percent

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — With the finance committee having finished its work, a draft budget for the 2017-18 academic year was brought forward from the group to the full school board during an April 4 meeting. The directors are scheduled to vote on the spending plan during the May meeting.

An RSU 68 budget approved on May 2 would then be brought forward to a district budget meeting later in the month. The spending plan figure OKed by residents at that time will go to a referendum in the district communities of Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson and Sebec on Tuesday, June 13.

In her presentation Superintendent Stacy Shorey said the finance committee — made up of Board Chair Rick Johnston and directors Mary Downs, Blake Smith and Tim Smith — operated under a guiding principle of, “We are going to make budget decisions that are best for students and are fiscally responsible.”

After going through the various line items, Shorey said, “Our total expenditures are up $348,000 from last year.”

“Our overall increases to taxes is 2.95 percent,” she added, with this equalling a figure of just under $134,000.

The current RSU 68 budget totals approximately $10,515,000. The combined assessments for the four towns is about $4,546,700.

Shorey said she is still awaiting some finalized insurance and fuel costs and these adjustments will be made to the budget brought to the May 2 meeting.

“I think it is a pretty good budget, but I think it is still hard to go to the taxpayers with this,” Johnston said. He said the state is not funding the required 55 percent of the Essential Programs and Services costs and some special education expenses are being placed back onto the school districts.

In other business, Special Services Director Sue Watson said several days prior was the third annual March into Spring Craft and Vendor Fair. “This past Saturday we had our craft fair,” she said. “It was great, we raised $655 for the Maine Autism Society for our walk, it is on the 30th.”

Watson said on Sunday, April 30 the SeDoMoCha Helping Hands will once again be taking part in the Walk for Autism on the Bangor campus of the University of Maine-Augusta. She said the walk follows a week of theme days for autism awareness as on each day students and staff are encouraged to wear specific blue items of clothing to show support for individuals with autism.

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