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Rockland area school budget gains voter approval

By Stephen Betts | Jun 08, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts Voting in Rockland June 8 for the Regional School Unit 13 budget may have been a record low, with only 169 ballots cast out of 5,622 registered voters.

The proposed $33 million budget for Rockland area schools for 2021-2022 was approved June 8 by voters in the five communities.

The first article which is for the overall budget for Regional School Unit 13 was approved 418 to 224 at the June 8 balloting.

Thomaston had the highest voter turnout of the five communities in RSU 13, because other items were on its municipal ballot. Thomaston supported the spending package 206 to 74.

Rockland voted 105 to 65 for the budget. Owls Head backed it 51 to 37, Cushing supported it 26 to 23, and South Thomaston supported it 30 to 25.

The eight other articles are also supported by a majority of  voters in RSU 13.

Polls were open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. in Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing.

Rockland's turnout may be a record low with 170 votes. Two years ago, when no other items were on the ballot, turnout was 287 and four years ago it was 673. Vote totals are much greater when there are other ballot items such as primary elections or state referendums.

Rockland has 5,622 registered voters.

The board voted 8-2 at its May 6 meeting to approve the $33 million spending package that represents a 3.9% ($1,252,900) increase from the voter approved 2020-2021 budget.

The $1.25 million increase is due largely to salary and benefit increases. Salary increases account for $810,000 of the increase and benefits (largely health insurance) account for another $231,000 of the budget hike. Salary and benefits for employees account for 78 to 79% of the overall RSU 13 budget.

The amount of local property taxes communities will need to raise to support the budget totals nearly $26.9 million, an increase of $845,000.

The additional local revenue to be generated by municipalities within RSU 13 is not divided equally, due to factors including changes in student enrollment by community. Rockland will see the largest increase — $347,000 — that will raise its annual payments to the district to $10.7 million. Owls Head will see the next largest increase — $243,000 — bringing its total annual payments to $3.8 million.

South Thomaston will pay an additional $137,000, bringing its annual payments to nearly $3.5 million. Cushing will pay $78,000 more, bringing its total payments to $3.9 million. Thomaston will pay $39,000 more, reaching nearly $4.9 million.

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Stephen Betts | Jun 10, 2021 09:20

Robin, the budget was reported on every step of the way and listed when the vote was. Absentee ballots were also available. Record low turnout was not because there was not notice of the meeting.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jun 10, 2021 08:07

Voters have sent a message loud & clear to RSU #13 school board members and administration. We have little or no interest on how much you spend, we will always support our schools.  Budgets or any cost containment measures make no difference even if the State changes the funding formula (which they are not) and gives the school another two or three million that will be quickly swallowed up in the deep black hole that is the school budget.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Jun 09, 2021 12:38

There was this in VS on 1 June:

Posted by: Robin Gabe | Jun 09, 2021 12:22

That's interesting. I didn't see any mention of this election date in either Village Soup or the official Rockland City website. Maybe that is why the turnout was a record low?


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