RSU 39 voters pass district budget in referendum vote

1 month ago

CARIBOU, Maine – Local voters approved a $23.44 million budget for Regional School Unit 39 (Caribou and Stockholm) Tuesday.

The budget passed with a 468-to-419 majority in Caribou. The city’s results came in at around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

In May, the RSU 39 school board approved a $23.35 million budget, but a majority of residents at the district budget meeting later that month voted to add $90,000. That upped the projected local education-based mill rate to 10.7 mills.

City leaders have predicted that with a higher RSU-based mill rate, Caribou’s overall mill rate could increase from last year’s 19.5 to 22.3 mills, but city councilors won’t set the final rate until this summer.

RSU 39 will receive $16.56 million from the state to fund local education, with Caribou expected to raise $2.71 million as its local share and Stockholm $120,594. Voters at the district meeting agreed to add $90,000 to Caribou’s additional local share, which now totals $2.52 million.

Early Tuesday evening, Caribou voters were still turning out at the recreation center, with many voicing support for the budget.

Terri Steeves of Caribou said she would support the district using additional funds to support students with learning difficulties.

“I don’t know exactly what [the district] needs but I know that many [students] need extra help with reading and math after COVID,” Steeves said.

Many who stated they did not vote for the budget declined to comment further.

The RSU 39 school board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Caribou Performing Arts Center to approve the budget vote results.

Caribou voters also turned out for the state congressional primary races.

In the race for U.S. House District 2, Fort Kent native and Republican Austin Theriault secured a place on the November ballot with 472 votes. He will face off against Jared Golden of Lewiston, who received 232 votes and was the sole candidate in the Democratic primary. Theriault’s opponent, Mike Soboleski, received 74 votes.

Other Republican candidates were the only ones running in their respective races. They included Demi Kouzounas of Saco for U.S. Senate, with 415 votes; Sue Bernard of Caribou, State Senate District 1, 522 votes; Timothy Guerrette of Caribou, State House District 4, 541 votes; Paul Underwood of Presque Isle, Aroostook County Commissioner for District 2, 477 votes; and Daniel Deveau of Cyr Plantation, Aroostook County Commissioner for District 3, seven votes.

Democratic voters chose David Costello of Brunswick, U.S. Senate, with 205 votes; Vaughn McLaughlin of Fort Fairfield, State Senate District 1, 219 votes; Samantha Paradis of Caribou, State House District 4; 221 votes; and Michael Carpenter, Aroostook County Probate Judge, 229 votes. All were the only candidates in their races.