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Residents approve school budget; final vote pending

MADAWASKA, Maine — With only a few months remaining in the school year, the Madawaska School Department is one step closer to getting its school budget approved, as voters accepted a $6,052,650 spending plan at a special town meeting, Tuesday, March 7.

This was the sixth time since June residents voted on the school budget at a town meeting. Each of the previous times it subsequently failed at the budget validation referendum stage, or the vote was deemed invalid due to a technicality.

Tuesday, voters approved most of the budget articles with a show-of-hands vote. A final vote on the total amount to be appropriated for education passed 97-11, according to Town Clerk, Amy Ouellette.

The latest version of the school budget approved Tuesday does not include $49,000 for adult education, which had been previously accepted by voters.

Since last summer, some residents have called for further cuts in education, specifically administrative expenses and teacher salaries. That frustration with what some see as a bloated school budget, has led to the budget failing at subsequent referenda votes, which are conducted through the secret ballot box and not in the open.

The school department has made cuts and further refinements to the budget since June, when the initial nearly $6.4 million budget was rejected by voters. Both the school committee and the town’s finance committee recommended all the articles in this latest school budget.

A budget validation referendum is scheduled for on Tuesday, March 28.

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