RSU 20 voters pass proposed $35.5M budget

By Tanya Mitchell | Jun 10, 2014
Source: File image

Belfast — Residents in the Regional School Unit 20 towns passed the 2014-15 school budget proposal totaling $35,565,772.35 at the polls Tuesday, June 10.

The total vote of the eight district towns had voters approving the RSU 20 budget 1,209 in favor to 808 against.

Belfast voters passed the budget by a more than 2-1 margin, voting 513 in favor of the school budget to 243 against. Searsport passed the budget by a narrower margin, 148 in favor to 117 against. Stockton Springs had a close vote of 138 in favor of the RSU 20 budget to 131 against. Northport voted 155 in favor to 103 against. Searsmont voters approved the budget 97 in favor to 75 opposed. Swanville voted 66 in favor of passing the budget to 55 against; Belmont voted 42 in favor to 26 against. Morrill voted against the RSU 20 budget with 58 against and 50 in favor.

The vote finalizes the budget for the upcoming school year, as it followed the May 29 district- wide validation meeting at Troy Howard Middle School, at which time about 90 voters turned out and approved the figure as proposed.

The $35.5 million budget represents a 6.5-percent overall budget increase, with an average increase in town assessments coming in at 7.32 percent.

In a letter RSU 20 Superintendent Brian Carpenter drafted in advance of the validation meeting, he explained the proposed figure of $35.5 million reflects the return of some items that were cut from last year's budget such as supplies and middle school level co-and extra-curricular stipends. The district also saw a 9.5 percent increase in health insurance costs — a portion of which will be paid by district employees — and a 6.5 percent jump in the cost of property insurance.

Carpenter said the finance committee had initially returned a second bus run for students residing in the former School Administrative District 56 towns, but in an effort to offset the loss of revenue and increased costs, the committee opted to pull that item out of the proposal before taking the package to the full board for approval. In addition, the committee reduced the contingency line, which gave the district a total savings of more than $400,000.

Comments (7)
Posted by: Patricia Keyes | Jun 15, 2014 10:31

This means on average a million dollar increase per year since I've been following this budget issue.  I wish I could have a million extra a year to produce the same or lesser value.  MONEY doesn't provide a good education.  ADULTS, who are interested in loving and encouraging young people, are.  If you want to put your priorities straight on education, then the community, parents first, especially those who use the public schools as a babysitting service, should get involved in destroying the "generation gap".  Kids only succeed when adults show they care.  And more money, principally for salaries, shows that priorities are NOT right in the system or around it.

Shame on the school board for allowing this to happen when so many of us are out of work or earning far less than anyone working in the system.  Shame on us for being so stupid as to allow this to continue for a decade or more at such a pace.



Posted by: Patricia Keyes | Jun 15, 2014 10:27

This means on average a million dollar increase per year since I've been following this budget issue.  I wish I could have a million extra a year to produce the same or lesser value.  MONEY doesn't provide a good education.  ADULTS, who are interested in loving and encouraging young people, are.  ADULTS sacrifice themselves, and inconvenience themselves for kids.  ADULTS take responsibility for THEIR OWN KIDS.  If you want to put your priorities straight on education, then the community, parents first, especially those who use the public schools as a babysitting service, should get involved in destroying the "generation gap".  Kids only succeed when adults show they care.  And more money, principally for salaries, shows that priorities are NOT right in the system or around it.  Where are the adults there???  Shame on the school board for this travesty when so many of us are out of work, or earning far less than those in the school system.

 



Posted by: Leslie Lavender | Jun 13, 2014 06:50

I wish there was a way to give comments a thumbs up or thumbs down. Paul, some of us are just shaking our heads.....nothing changes except the taxpayers keep getting hit harder and harder. Melvin, two thumbs up from me.



Posted by: Melvin J. Box | Jun 11, 2014 13:49

A city the size Bangor has a 43 million dollar budget and RSU 20 has a budget of 35.5 million dollars. Interesting.



Posted by: Laurie Lee Allen | Jun 11, 2014 12:54

The voting system is a failure. Too rural. Getting accurate information from the bureaucrats that intend to confuse and deceive to promote their wants is corrupt. This is in the RSU and Belfast City Hall. Again and again, the need for independent committee's is the answer. A group can hold them accountable and inform the public. What does it cost to do a mail vote only? Is that legal? Every taxpayer to get a ballot with a stamped return envelope address with an informative flyer from the independent committee on pro's and con's. Renters would receive through their landlords. Mass mailing with the property tax bills, change the budget in Belfast, other towns all uniformly.

Their corruption is out of control. Serious misspending is hidden under layers, protected by their formed committee's and attorneys. In this school budget, Carpenter said he was not cutting because last year committee's were formed by a Belfast City Council wife, some parents directly affected by the proposed cut, some school board members, some teachers, to Vote No on the budget cuts. Totally unethical and it was viscous. Two times that happened. Those not on social media, unaware of their force. Not hard to tip the votes, those who even knew there was a vote...

This one played right into their hands, no cuts, budget through, no accountability, just like Belfast City Hall. The price tag on all these wants, recreation, City owned properties, attorneys fees, Comprehensive Plan (surely a bomb shell price tag) that will be the end all to what Belfast used to be... It is shocking how people just sit back and think nothing will affect them.


Belfast Planning Board member, Wayne Corey compared the intent of the plan to the Soviet Union. HELLO, HELLO- IS ANYBODY OUT THERE??? City Hall is playing you, right into the theater of illusion. Be Happy, Be Happy, I said so. You will be rewarded, you will feel happy. Don't look at the ones who are suffering. Keep dancing for me.


Council Eric Sanders did ask for accountability with the 600K surplus in the RSU- City Manager Joe Slocum never got around to it. Too busy slicing the little guy to fund the final kill. Refusing to account for misspending. Slocum will ask Carpenter to come in an explain this Tuesday.

 

Too little caring too late. Sick of hearing Council ask him again and again,  if he took care of an issue that he said he would. This man is focused on the wants of the heavy hitters. City Planner Wayne Marshall locking up his paper trail.

 

School Board I hear is difficult as well. I'm in the ring with with the Wall and players. Can't do two. WE could do two. Let's go already. Independent committee's.

 



Posted by: Christopher Hyk | Jun 11, 2014 12:33

I believe it would be more accurate to say that the taxpayers "drank the Kool-Aid" rather than "bit the bullet".



Posted by: Paul Sheridan | Jun 10, 2014 23:04

GOOD NEWS for students in RSU 20!

The taxpayers bit the bullet and prioritized education of our youth.

Thanks to all who worked to make this happen.



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Tanya Mitchell
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Tanya has been a general news reporter in Waldo County since 1997.

 

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