RSU 68 officials looking at 1.5 percent budget increase

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — After several budget committee meetings over the previous few months, RSU 68 officials are looking at a 1.5 percent increase in the spending plan for the 2019-20 academic year. The current RSU 68 budget totals just under $11.56 million and the four RSU 68 communities’ combined local assessment is $4,634,569. The assessment is made up of local contributions, additional local monies and funding for adult education.

“We have had a couple of budget meetings, we looked at a few different options,” Blake Smith of the budget committee said during a March 5 meeting of the RSU 68 directors at the SeDoMoCha School. “Our plan is to shoot for a 1.5 percent increase.”

Smith said that the budget committee is still awaiting some finance components, such as RSU 68’s share of the costs for the Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter. “We would have to cut roughly $126,000 to get down to the 1.5 percent increase,” he said.

“We think we can do this without making a big impact on students and programming,” Smith said.

Superintendent Stacy Shorey said the next budget committee is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26. “At that time we hope to have a balanced budget to present to you,” she said

The school board will vote on a budget in the spring, and this spending plan will be brought forward to a district meeting in May at SeDoMoCha. Finances approved that evening go to the June referendum in the towns of Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson and Sebec.

In other business Shorey said, “We are very proud to share we have three teachers here who have been nominated for Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year.”

The nominees are kindergarten teacher Erica Tapley, grade 6 social studies instructor Chris Miller and middle school art teacher Bobbi Tardif. Shorey said the three are all interested in pursuing the honor and nomination packets will be put together for the award presented by the Maine Department of Education.

Shorey said Foxcroft Academy will likely have a nominee for Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, and she is unsure about the other schools in the region. She said the award winner could be announced in April.

The previous two Piscataquis County Teachers of the Year have both gone on to earn the top honor in the state, the 16 county-level winners narrowed down to three finalists with the Maine Teacher of the Year chosen from this trio. SeDoMoCha music teacher Kaitlin Young is the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year and Piscataquis Community High School English instructor Joseph Hennessey is the 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year.

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