At a public meeting on Wednesday, June 10, voters in Old Town, Alton and Bradley will be asked to approve the proposed first-year budget for Regional School Unit 34. A broader referendum vote on the budget will be held in the three communities on June 23.

RSU board members voted unanimously last week to endorse a $16,649,000 budget for 2010. David Walker, superintendent of both the Old Town School District and the new RSU that takes effect July 1, said the budget reflects the board’s commitment to maintaining current services and programs during the first year of the RSU.

“There are no new programs,” he said. “We’ll just be doing what we did this year.”

The total RSU budget represents a gross decrease of 5.6 percent from last year’s budgets, according to Walker, in part due to school districts in Alton and Bradley no longer paying tuition to send their students to Old Town High School.

Projected revenues from state subsidies, tuition-paying students from communities that are not members of the RSU, and other sources will cover $9,899,014 of the total budget. State-mandated contributions from the three RSU member communities, based on their property values, total another $3,798,112.

That leaves another $2,951,873 to be contributed by the three communities. Of that amount, Alton and Old Town will be responsible for $384,436 in “local-only” debt — payments for improvements to their respective community schools that will not be shared at the level of the RSU.

The remaining $2,567,436 obligation, based on each community’s percentage of the total student population, would be allocated as follows:

• Alton (9.8 percent) — $262,445

• Bradley (22 percent) —$564,836

• Old Town (68.2 percent) — $1,750,991

Walker said the process of formulating the budget for 2010, the first year of the RSU structure, has been complicated. He encouraged residents of the three communities to attend the public meeting this Wednesday evening, when the budget will be explained in detail and where adjustments may be made. Residents attending that meeting will vote on a final budget proposal that then will be subject to a general referendum vote on June 23. A summary of the budget will be posted at the polls.

The public hearing and preliminary vote on the 2010 RSU 34 budget will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at Old Town High School.


Meg Haskell

Meg Haskell is a curious second-career journalist with two grown sons, a background in health care and a penchant for new experiences. She lives in Stockton Springs. Email her at