WATERBORO – The proposed $35.9 million, 2012-2013 Regional School Unit 57 budget passed its first test at the annual district budget meeting, which was held on May 22 at Massabesic Middle School.
About 80 residents from the six-town district, which consists of Alfred, Limerick, Lyman, Newfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro, turned out, according to Delano Lebel, the school district’s business manager.
He said no changes were made to the budget as recommended by the school board.
The proposed budget will now go to a district-wide referendum vote on Tuesday, June 12.
The budget represents a nearly 3 percent increase in spending over this year’s budget of $35 million. Superintendent John Davis has said the proposed spending plan meets the needs of students and reflects the priorities shared with the school district by the public and school administrators and staff.
Those priorities, he said, include not reducing staffing or programming. Although the new budget includes an increase in spending of nearly $1 million, Davis has said RSU 57 would continue to have one of the lowest per-pupil costs in the state.
Without knowing the valuations of the six towns, the school department cannot predict the impact of the proposed budget on the tax rate in the individual communities.
But the amount required from each town to support the budget depends on the number of students enrolled and the community’s overall valuation, Lebel said.
During last week’s district budget meeting, Lebel said, there was “very little discussion,” which gives school leaders hope that the budget as presented will pass in June.
“What happened at the budget meeting gives us a lot of hope that the budget will pass, even though you never really know,” Lebel said. “But, from what we’ve heard, we believe the budget will pass.”
“There was nothing alarming in this budget,” he added, “so maybe that’s why not a lot of people showed up. We’ve also held six to seven budget hearings and sent out a mailer to everyone in the district.”