Bangor and Brewer residents voted in favor of their school budgets, but Regional School Unit 22’s four member towns defeated the proposed $30 million education spending plan during budget validation referendums held Tuesday, the superintendent said, based on unofficial election results provided by the town clerks.
Bangor residents endorsed the proposed $45.2 million Bangor Public Schools fiscal year 2018 budget with 1,209 “yes,” and 316 “no” votes.
A total of 902 Brewer residents cast ballots on the $21.3 million school budget, with 527 supporting the budget and 374 voting against it passing.
Orono residents easily passed the RSU 26 budget with 366 “yes” and 65 “no” votes.
In RSU 22, Frankfort endorsed the budget with 26 “yes” votes and 18 “no,” but residents of Hampden, Newburgh and Winterport all voted down the referendum — in total, 710 opposed and 637 in support of the proposed budget.
“The voters have spoken, and we have to do the process again and come up with a second budget,” RSU 22 Superintendent Richard Lyons said after the polls closed.
Hampden residents cast 319 votes against and 272 for the budget; Newburgh had 126 opposed and 124 who endorsed it; and Winterport residents tallied 247 “no” votes verses 215 “yes,” Lyons said.
Lyons said the question school officials have to answer is why residents were displeased with the budget.
“Was it too high or too low?” he said, listing a number of budget items that were heavily debated at the budget hearing last week, some that were changed.
School leaders are considering whether to hold a public meeting to get input from residents before the budget process begins anew, Lyons said.