The Regional School Unit 13 board voted May 2 to adopt a $27 million budget.

The budget, which represents about a 2.1 percent increase from the previous year's expenditures, will now go to voters for final approval. Residents will vote on the budget during a regional meeting Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m. at Oceanside High School East in Rockland and will ratify the meeting's budget at the polls June 11.

In a little more than a one-hour discussion, board members made several amendments in an attempt to save seven positions from being cut, but all three discussions were not passed by the board. No jobs will be lost due to cuts, staff will only be moved to fill the positions, Superintendent Lew Collins noted at the meeting.

The budget was approved with a vote of 682 in favor and 234 against. George Emery, Sherman Hoyt and Carol Bachofner did not support the spending package.

Hoyt said he is not in favor of positions being cut, and since the two school districts merged, there have been cuts both years.

Following the vote, board member Loren Andrews said the 2013-2014 budget process was the worst one he has been a part of in his seven years serving on school boards because there are no easy solutions.

"With reluctance I voted 'yes' because we have to move forward," he said.

Of the total budget, approximately $22.8 million will come from taxpayers of the six communities in the school district.

The breakdown, by town, is as follows:

  • Rockland, $7,516,314, up 3.78 percent ($283,936)
  • St. George, $4,150,024, down 1.38 percent ($57,191)
  • Thomaston, $3,227,926, up 1.48 percent ($47,684)
  • Cushing, $2,553,598, up 2.48 percent ($63,301)
  • South Thomaston, $2,509,433, up 1.01 percent ($25,386)
  • Owls Head, $2,388,400, up 5.82 percent ($139,000)

Several Oceanside High School East students spoke in favor of saving a high school art teacher position but after two possibilities were brought forth for ways to save the position, it ultimately ended up being part of the cut.

"I want my younger brother and his peers to have the same opportunity I've all had all four years," said Lizzie Lombardo, an Oceanside High School East senior.

Lombardo plans to attend Pratt Institute in New York City in the fall to study art. She said cutting the position may limit opportunities for those interested and serious about pursuing art for a profession and may diminish Advanced Placement courses in art at the high school.

"A number of students have taken advantage of the select opportunities that we have and have done something with it," Lombardo said of the high school art program, noting several students are pursuing fine arts, fashion design and culinary arts in college.

Board member Darryl Sanborn made a motion to add $63,583 back into the instruction budget for the art position. After much discussion, the amendment failed with 314 in favor and 602 opposed.

Andrews then requested to remove funds earmarked for a part-time development director position and a new public announcement system at the high school at a cost of $40,250 and adding $23,333 to the budget for the art position. That also failed with a vote of 253 in favor and 579 opposed.

Sanborn then made a motion to remove $32,500 — allotted for the development director position — from the budget, but the motion failed 164 in favor to 752 against.

Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 120 or by email at klincoln@courierpublicationsllc.com.