Regional School Unit 3 will receive an interest-free $1.2 million loan for school renovations, of which nearly $800,000 will be forgiven if towns approve the debt in a referendum May 9.

The Maine Department of Education's School Renovation Revolving Loan Fund supports projects that ensure students have a “safe, healthy and appropriate learning environment,” and is itself funded through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank.

Each loan awarded is partially forgiven at a rate that ranges ranges from 30 percent to 70 percent based on the percentage of state subsidy paid to the school district. RSU 3's forgiveness rate of 63 percent would leave the district to pay back approximately $464,000 over 10 years, at $46,438 per year, beginning in 2018-2019.

Loan payments go back into the revolving fund for future school renovation projects.

The state program prioritizes projects that address health, safety and compliance issues first, other building structure improvements second, energy and water conservation projects third, and upgrades of learning spaces fourth.

RSU 3 had 12 of the 22 projects submitted in its application approved for funding. All those approved were first-priority projects.

With voter approval of the loan, Walker Elementary School in Liberty is expected to receive $595,000 and Morse Memorial School in Brooks $438,000 for elevators and other renovations related to safety, accessibility, and indoor air quality. Monroe Elementary School is allocated $169,000 for safety and accessibility related projects, and Troy Central School will receive $62,000 for safety renovations.

A public hearing to discuss the renovation projects will be held Monday, May 1, at 6 p.m. in room M111 at Mount View High School, and a referendum vote for final approval will be conducted Tuesday, May 9, in all RSU 3 towns.

Editor's note: RSU 3's loan applications were received from the Department of Education after the paper went to print. This story has been updated with the specific renovations for which the district was awarded funding.