UNITY — Voters residing in the towns making up the Regional School Unit 3 school district have cast their ballots on the proposed school budget for the 2020-2021 school year, as well as on a few budget referendum items.
The RSU 3 school district serves the communities of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo.
In a letter to voters, RSU 3 Superintendent Charles Brown noted state funding for Fiscal Year 2021 for RSU 3 was reduced by $138,208 in comparison to the funds received in Fiscal Year 2020.
“The reduced funding is due to several factors included in the Maine Essential Programs and Services Formula (EPS); increases in property value across the district, a decline in enrollment of students, a decline in the number of students requiring special education services, and a decline in the number of economically disadvantaged students,” Brown wrote. “Additionally, a new state law passed in September 2019, requires the minimum teacher salary to be $40,000 by September 2022, with a phase in of $35,000 this coming fiscal year.”
The proposed budget is $20,496,900, which is an increase of $266,900 or 1.32 percent compared to the 2019-2020 school year.
With a budget increase of $266,900, a decrease in state funding, a decline in enrollment and a lower state mil rate expectation (8.18 versus 8.28), the local tax assessments will rise by $248,108 or 2.89 percent, according to Brown.
“The administrative team analyzed all budget components and made difficult, fiscal decisions that led us through a thoughtful development of this budget,” noted Brown. “As a district, we were able to realign resources, both material and personnel, to best meet the needs of our students. While there was an overall decrease in staff, the Board of Directors feels that this budget meets the needs of our students and the resources of the district.”
For a complete breakdown of the proposed budget as presented to voters, click here.