The tax impact on Rockland and a cut in music education at the St. George School were the main themes raised during a 35-minute informational meeting held June 1 on the proposed Regional School Unit 13 budget for 2011-2012.

Three people spoke during the hearing, held at the McLain School, which was held a week before residents of Rockland, Thomaston, St. George, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing can vote on the $25,948,205 spending plan.

The public vote is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 at Rockland District High School auditorium. At the June 8 meeting, any registered voters of RSU 13 can attend, make motions to change the budget, and vote on the package. Residents of those six communities can register to vote prior to the start of the meeting.

Then on Tuesday, June 14, residents will be able to go to the polls and vote yes or no on the amount approved at the June 8 meeting. Absentee ballots will be available starting June 9.

At the June 1 hearing, former Rockland Mayor Tom Molloy expressed concern about the increase in property taxes required for the budget.

“We’re all struggling, trying to make ends meet,” Molloy said.

Superintendent Judy Lucarelli noted that the overall tax impact to the district is down slightly from the 2010-2011 budget but that due to a change in the formula used to distribute the costs within the district, Rockland will be paying a larger share. That formula was devised prior to the formation of the district. Rockland will see its share increase for another three years.

Two St. George residents also spoke about the reduction in music at the St. George School, saying that it should be kept at the same level.

Lucarelli noted that the music position that is now three days a week at St. George will remain at three days a week but also cover Rockland District Middle School in the next school year.

Stephen Lindsay of St. George said this would harm the program, and instead of working at equity throughout the district by reducing St. George’s music offerings, the district should emulate its program at other schools. He said it was a serious mistake to spread out the duties of Carolyn Kanicki who he said has done a superhuman job working only three days a week.

The overall RSU 13 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.

Rockland will have to raise $7,207,099, an increase of 4 percent ($287,000) if the budget is approved as currently recommended. 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.

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