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Regional School Unit 5 passes $23.4M school budget

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Regional School Unit 5 passes $23.4M school budget

FREEPORT — The Regional School Unit 5 Board of Trustees will send a $23.4 million budget for fiscal 2011 to the annual budget meeting on May 26.

A total of $65,400 was added to the budget on May 12, including $60,000 for the contingency fund and $5,400 to fund library books.

The increase in funding for library books will bring the school district to half of the state's recommended allocation. Currently, books are funded at $9.60 per student, but the state recommendation is $25 per student. The board voted 9-1 to increase the library book allocation to $12.60 per student.

The contingency fund can be used for budget relief in the future, unexpected energy costs, repairs or emergency situations.

Superintendent of Schools Shannon Welsh said the $23.4 million total school budget includes $2.3 million in debt service, which will be reimbursed by the state.

The $21.6 million operating budget reflects about a 1 percent decrease from this year's operating budget, a reduction of about $282,000, Welsh said. Because assessment values have not been reported yet, the anticipated tax impact is a reduction of $55,000 in Durham, an increase of $7,000 in Freeport and a reduction of $11,500 in Pownal. 

Residents of the three town will have an opportunity to participate at the annual budget meeting on Wednesday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Freeport High School gymnasium. They can modify or approve the budget, which then goes to a validation referendum on June 8.

The board also approved advisory language that will accompany the budget referendum question. In case the budget is rejected, voters will have an opportunity to indicate if the budget as presented is too high, too low or adequate.  

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net