Less than a month after voters in Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh and Frankfort shot down their proposed $30 million school budget in a 710-637 vote, RSU 22 school officials returned to the drawing board for a budget approval redo.
The process began on Thursday night with a joint meeting of the RSU 22 board of directors’ budget and finance committees during which residents and others in the district were invited to talk about what they want to see in the next iteration, ask questions and provide comments, Superintendent Rick Lyons said last week.
Lyons said earlier the question school officials have to answer is why residents were displeased with the budget.
The budget that was rejected when it went to referendum on June 13 reflected a roughly 2 percent increase over the 2017 budget, according to an overview prepared by school administrators.
Some of the issues that generated the most debate during the district budget meeting on June 8 included the levels of funding for regular instruction and system administration and how any unexpected state subsidy the district might receive should be used.
Next up will be a regular board meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12 at the Hampden Academy library. During that session, the RSU board of directors will be asked to approve a new version of the proposed budget.
The process will continue during this year’s second district budget meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, in the Hampden Academy gym. At that time, district voters will be asked to adopt the updated budget.
The 2018 budget’s final stop comes on Tuesday, Aug. 1, when voters in RSU 22’s four member towns will go the polls for their respective budget validation referendums. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The initial version of the budget passed in only one of the district’s four member towns.
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, Lyons said earlier this month.
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.