PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Residents in the SAD 1 school district voted overwhelmingly in favor of the next fiscal year budget during the annual referendum vote on Tuesday.
The budget calls for a 1.4 percent increase in total revenue over the current budget but no increase in local property taxes. Approved funds include $500,000 for the installation of a synthetic turf at the Presque Isle Middle School soccer field and $75,000 for repairs to the Pine Street Elementary School roof.
Seventy percent of the district or 294 residents voted in support of the $25.15 million budget while 30 percent or 124 residents voted against it.
Residents in favor of the budget included 196 in Presque Isle, 58 in Mapleton, 17 in Castle Hill, 15 in Chapman and eight in Westfield. Eighty-five residents in Presque Isle, 13 in Mapleton, 15 in Castle Hill, five in Chapman and six in Westfield voted against the budget.
SAD 1 superintendent Gehrig Johnson said that although voter turnout was lower than in years past, likely due to cold, rainy weather and a single-issue referendum ballot, he and the school board are pleased that the budget has passed.
He noted that Tuesday, May 21’s referendum marks the highest voter approval rating for an SAD 1 budget in several years.
“We had to make some reductions in the budget, but we feel that it’s a sound budget that will help us serve the needs of our students,” Johnson said.
Johnson was referring to the budget’s planned elimination of four teaching positions, a half-time secretary position and a part-time bus driver position.
SAD 1’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year for goes into effect on July 1.