Madawaska School Committee sets school budget hearing and referendum

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Madawaska School Committee set dates for the budget hearing and referendum at a special meeting held June 24. 

The Madawaska School Committee approved the $7.8 million budget earlier this month, with the statement that it would not bring an increase to taxpayers.

Director of Finance and Projects for Valley Unified Lucie Tabor, who provides administrative services to Madawaska School Department as well as SADs 27 and 33, said the team worked hard to ensure there would not be any increase on the school budget’s part for local taxpayers to pick up.

The new budget increased by $463,609 from $7,346,118 to $7,809,727, but the increase is offset by other departments, revenue and state funding. 

The budget process this year was difficult due to COVID-19. Normally, the Madawaska School Department would have had the final budget ready in April to be presented to voters at the referendum, which usually took place in June. 

But COVID-19 brought halts in the budget process to make room for immediately important matters such as designing and executing a remote learning plan and ensuring that children — including nonstudents — were fed for the remainder of the school year. 

The Madawaska School Department with Valley Unified have accounted for that need in the coming budget. 

Some remaining monies left over due to an early school closure in response to the pandemic were used to address safety and security for employees who needed to continue to go into the school buildings, for example the cooks and lunch preparers. 

The remaining money was accounted for to offset the tax burden for the taxpayers for the 2020-2021 school budget, according to Tabor. 

The budget hearing is set to take place July 13 at the Madawaska Middle High School cafeteria.  

The referendum vote for the budget will take place July 27.

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