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RSU 39 adds budget warrant article for possible state subsidy increase

CARIBOU, Maine — The RSU 39 (Caribou and Stockholm) board of education added a warrant item to the upcoming district budget meeting and unanimously approved the use of potentially $250,000 worth of additional state subsidy during an emergency meeting called for Monday, May 17.

The additional funding comes after Gov. Janet Mills proposed funding public education at 55 percent, an initiative that Maine residents accepted in 2004 and 2016 elections .

As of May 17, it is unclear if this funding will be formally passed by the Maine Legislature. 

If it does move forward, the RSU 39’s total proposed budget of $19,814,702 would not change, but $249,578.67 that would have been funded through local taxes would be supplied via state funding. 

With Caribou and Stockholm both sharing costs for the RSU 39, Caribou’s required local portion of $2,946,042 would be reduced by $238,667 to $2,707,375, and Stockholm’s required local portion of $134,695 would be reduced by $10,912 to $123,783.

And while RSU 39 already approved the budget earlier this month, they still need to hold an additional meeting on May 26 in the Caribou Performing Arts Center at 5:30 p.m. in which members of the public will vote either by show of hands or secret ballot to formally approve the budget.

The additional warrant article would allow the board to use the funding to either decrease costs for local taxpayers, use it toward education or fund one-time costs needed by RSU 39 schools, or if it should go into the school’s reserve fund. Approval of this item would allow the board to use any additional state funding for one, or a combination of, these three purposes.

The final step for approval will occur during the June 8 election when Caribou and Stockholm residents vote to accept the budget via referendum.

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