About 40 Regional School Unit 3 voters on Wednesday approved the proposed 2019-2020 school budget without changes.

The total budget of $20,230,000 is $8,000 less than what was approved last year, or a .04% drop.

Superintendent of RSU 3 Paul Austin said state funding was reduced this year by $346,893 in comparison with last year because of declining student enrollment, an increase in property values and a decline in students requiring special education services.

To make up for this gap, he said, the district eliminated the Mount View High and Middle School athletic director position, one general and one special education teacher at the high school, and three currently unfilled education technician positions.

The Board of Directors added a new nursing assistant position to support nursing staff in meeting the medical needs of students across the district.

The budget also includes an assessment of $12,049 for the Waldo County Technical Center, which was not required last year. The additional assessment is to help fund the portion of the WCTC budget not covered by the Maine Department of Education subsidy.

While the budget was approved, there still were questions posed by residents of the district. Laurie Greeley, a Freedom resident, voiced concern about how the school budget took such a large bite out of her town's operating budget, leaving little to put toward needed road improvements.

"It feels like we're paying a huge amount (to the district) and wondering what the results are," she said.

Judy Brossmer of Brooks said she disagreed with Greeley, but wondered why funding forĀ  arts and music has remained flat while sports is consistently well-funded.

"The Mount View Chamber Singers have put us on the map; I don't see a dime put toward this," she said.

The RSU 3 towns of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo will vote in the final budget referendum on Tuesday, June 11. Voters also will choose four at-large school board representatives. Brooks, Jackson, Troy and Waldo all have board members with terms expiring this year.

Montville school board member Paige Zeigler announced he will step down as chairman. Zeigler said increased responsibilities as a state representative of District 96 (Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont) have made his role on the school board challenging, and he said he stayed on for as long as he did to aid in the search for a new superintendent.