RSU 68 directors approve $12.8M budget

District meeting set for May 31 

DOVER-FOXCROFT — The RSU 68 school board formally approved a budget of $12,817,099 for the 2022-23 academic year, during a meeting held May  10 at the SeDoMoCha School.

The directors also scheduled the annual district budget meeting for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, at SeDoMoCha, to be preceded by a 6 p.m. information session. The total figure finalized that evening from the approved articles making up the RSU 68 financials will be moved to a referendum on Tuesday, June 14, in the RSU 68 communities of Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson and Sebec.

The $12.8 million figure is up nearly $100,000 from the preliminary spending plan presented last month, and it is $97,437 more than the current academic year’s nearly $12 million total.

The amount of the spending plan to be covered by taxpayers is down by $156,607 or 3.31 percent to $4,575,874 from the current $4.7 million-plus in assessments.

Last month Superintendent Stacy Shorey said each town would see a decrease in its proportional share of the RSU 68 budget. She said the numbers for Monson have changed since April, and this community would see its assessment decrease by 4.18 percent, compared with the 1.15 percent presented a month ago.

The $11,999,662 2021-22 budget includes proportional shares of $642,214 for Charleston, $2,864,532 for Dover-Foxcroft, $521,271 for Monson and $704,465 for Sebec.

In other business, Shorey said the district is in the process of purchasing the Richard M. Brown Building on the Bangor Road from Penquis for $750,000 to serve as the new home of the RSU 68 central office. During a special board meeting on April 11, the directors authorized Shorey to negotiate the building purchase. The facility was formerly the home of the Charlotte White Center main office before the organization merged with Penquis.

Shorey said that  in addition to housing the central office, the building could be used for the day treatment and occupational therapy programs. A program to serve area 3-year-olds that is planned for the fall of 2023 — which may also involve other school districts — and space may be utilized for a student technology program. A portion of the building may also be rented out.

In December RSU 68, residents approved a referendum for the construction of a new central office building to be located on the SeDoMoCha School campus. The board later decided to purchase a building rather than construct one because it was more economically feasible.

Third grade teacher Diane Stephen told the directors about the 12th annual One Book, One School reading program as elementary students and families read “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” by Julie Andrews together at home.

The purpose of One Book, One School is to promote a shared learning environment and reading experience at home and at school. Over several weeks, families will read a chapter at home and will go through a reading log with comprehension questions. 

Readings will also be done at school to ensure no child misses out — this year guest readers recorded their chapters to enable students to hear different voices — and One Book, One School culminated in an evening of activities for families.

Stephen said shipping delays for copies of “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” meant the program started later than intended in February and ended in mid-April. She said the guest readers were a hit with students because “the kids got to experience a bit of a variety of voices and dialogues in the book, and met people in the community.”

Foxcroft Academy Head of School gave an update on the construction of the Jim Robinson Field House on the western edge of the school’s campus.

“Turf is going down as we speak in the field house and will be all laid down in nine days,” Shorey said. 

He said fundraising is ongoing to help with the increased construction costs. One source of revenue will come from the message board, such as parents purchasing time to send well wishes to their students.

“The message board is back ordered and won’t be up until September,” Shorey said. “Everything else is in place.”

He said the ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, to help kick off Foxcroft Academy Alumni Weekend and serve as the start of the Foxcroft Academy Bicentennial celebration.

Shorey said at 6 p.m. on Aug. 5 “will be the very first field hockey game played so we will have some alums.”

The Jim Robinson Field House — A.E. Robinson Oil Company owner Jim Robinson who is a 1959 graduate of Foxcroft Academy secured the naming rights for the $5.5 million building — will be utilized by future Pony athletic teams and the community.

Plans feature synthetic field turf, sporting a surface big enough to play a regulation field hockey game, a four-lane walking track spanning the perimeter of the inside of the building, a jump pit for indoor track events, locker room facilities, office spaces, and a weight room.

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