The Penobscot Times

Orono voters approve school budget

ORONO, Maine — Voters approved a $15.6 million budget for Regional School Unit 26 at the polls Tuesday.

With a grand total of 128 ballots cast Tuesday, 109 voters approved the budget easily while 19 voted against the measure. The budget adopted for the school district is marked by a decrease of $168,864.31 compared to the previous year’s budget.

RSU 26 is made up entirely of Orono public schools.

The biggest overall changes in the budget were a decrease of $273,660.14 in funds devoted to regular instruction and $211,270 in capital improvement funds, according to RSU 26 budget documents.

The special education program also saw a cut of $31,957.25.

The budget cuts are not really cuts at all, RSU 26 Superintendent Meredith Higgins said Thursday.

When school district leaders were making this past year’s budget, they added in $600,000 in contingency funds to support instruction and special education if the state curtailed the amount generally dolled out to schools, Higgins said. 

“So, when you see the declines there, it’s just because we’ve taken out that extra contingency now that we are through that uncertainty,” she said. 

When you take out of consideration those extra contingency funds, the special education program received an additional $80,000 in this budget, Higgins said. 

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