The residents of the six communities in Regional School Unit 13 have their opportunity Wednesday, June 8 to decide whether they support the 2011-2012 budget developed by the school board.

The RSU 13 board voted 8-3 on May 5 to approve the $25,948,205 spending plan, which represents about a 2 percent increase from the approved 2010-2011 budget.

The amount that property owners will have to pay will increase for Rockland and Thomaston while the other communities will see a decrease.

The budget calls for six fewer teaching positions and reducing or consolidating four administrative positions. But no layoffs of teachers are expected because of the expected retirement of at least seven teachers following an incentive package offered by the district.

Two of the positions to be eliminated were paid for through federal stimulus money. Four other posts are being cut due to changes in the allied art program associated with the restructuring of schools and programs expected for next year.

Voting against the budget were Rockland board members Brian Messing and Steven Dyer and St. George board member Josiah Wilson. Thomaston board members Jamie Doubleday and Arvilla Collins were absent from the meeting.

Rockland board member Tess Kilgour chaired the meeting in Doubleday’s absence.

Rockland will have to raise $7,207,099, an increase of 4 percent. Thomaston will have to raise $3,100,968, up 1 percent.

St. George will have to raise $4,017,838, a decrease of nearly 5 percent. Cushing will have to raise $2,550,578, a drop of nearly 4 percent. South Thomaston will have to raise $2,395,544, a drop of less than 1 percent. Owls Head will have to raise $2,261,958, a drop of 8 percent.

One major uncertainty on the expense side is pay. The district has no contracts in place for 2011-2012. The teacher contract, which accounts for the largest amount of personnel costs, expired in the summer of 2009. Under the current system, former SAD 50 teachers are paid less than their counterparts in the SAD 5 system.

The formal district-wide budget meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 at Rockland District High School auditorium. Any registered voter of Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing can attend the meeting and vote on the budget. Changes to the budget can be made at the meeting.

On Tuesday, June 14, the final vote on the proposed school budget will be decided on at the polls in each of the communities. The single ballot question will ask voters whether they approve or reject the budget recommended at the June 8 meeting. Absentee ballots will be available starting June 9.

If the budget is rejected, the board will consider whether to make changes and send it back to voters.

An informational meeting for the public is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 at the McLain School.