$8.5M SAD 41 budget moved to Thursday referendum

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MILO — A proposed 2017-18 SAD 41 budget of $8,500,571 was approved with all 12 articles passing, without any discussion, over 17 minutes during a district budget meeting on Aug. 2 in the cafeteria at the Penquis Valley School. The $8.5 million total is now moved to a referendum in the district towns of Atkinson, Brownville, LaGrange, and Milo on Thursday, Aug. 10 for a “yes” or “no” vote.

Polling hours are listed at and are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Atkinson, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Brownville, 8 a.m. to noon in LaGrange, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Milo.

At the end of June SAD 41 residents voted down the first version of the budget by a combined count of 270 to 68 at the polls across the four towns. The total of this spending plan was also just over $8.5 million — which is an increase of a little more than $181,500 from $8,319,008 in 2016-17 — but the local contribution was $2,582,104. In the revised spending plan the four towns are responsible for $2,318,720 or more than $263,000 less than the first time.

The state’s contribution to the SAD 41 budget is $5,115,846 and in order to receive this amount the district must raise $1,568,93. An amount of $749,789 requested in local additional funds equals the total local contribution of $2,318,720. Per state law, an article concerning local additional funds needs to be voted on via written ballot and this item passed by a vote of 18-3.

“The $264,000 that came from the Department of Education, all of it was applied to paying down the taxes of the communities,” Superintendent Michael Wright said. Last month he was informed SAD 41 would be receiving more than $263,000 in additional subsidy as part of the new state budget, and the school board passed a motion to use all these funds to reduce the assessment for the four district towns.

Together Atkinson, Brownville, Milo, and LaGrange will be responsible for $2,318,720 in local required, local additional and adult education monies. This figure represents an increase of about $33,714 from the previous school year, but the first version of the budget had the local share rising by nearly $297,100 to the figure of $2,582,104.

In the budget to be voted on at the Aug. 10 referendum Atkinson would have a $244,702 contribution for the 2017-18 spending plan or an increase of $5,794. Brownville’s total of $655,632 would be up by about $14,169. LaGrange would see a decrease of $2,251 to $368,163. Milo’s share of the SAD 41 budget would be $1,050,222 for an increase of just over $16,000 from 2016-17.

“Hopefully the result is better this time around,” Wright said. Speaking of the 270-68 result for the first version of the 2017-18 budget at the polls, he said “I think that was quite a statement.”

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