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Proposed $5.5 million RSU 50 budget on way to voters

DYER BROOK, Maine — Voters in the seven communities that make up RSU 50 will be able to weigh in on a $5.5 million spending plan on Thursday, May 30, at the district’s annual budget meeting.

Approved by the board of directors in April, the fiscal plan is up $483,069 from last year. The actual impact to taxpayers, however, will be considerably less thanks to an increase in state subsidies.

RSU 50 Superintendent Jon Porter said the district will receive $2,559,520 from the state for the 2019-20 school year. That figure is up $230,654 from the current budget. In order to receive that money, the district must contribute $1,537,785 as its required local share, which is a decrease of  $20,617 from the previous year.

However, because the proposed district budget exceeds the state and local amounts determined by the state’s essential programs and services formula, an extra $830,499 is needed from “additional local” funds.

To help balance the budget, the district plans to carry forward $250,000 from the current spending plan, instead of rolling those funds into the surplus account, Porter said.

A 7 percent increase in health insurance costs, was cited as one of the factors for the increased budget.

RSU 50 is comprised of the communities of Crystal, Dyer Brook, Hersey, Island Falls, Merrill, Oakfield and Smyrna. Following the May 30 district budget meeting at Southern Aroostook Community School, residents will be asked to cast their votes for the budget when they go to the polls Tuesday, June 11, during state elections.

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