ELLSWORTH — Voters in Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24) will make the final decision Tuesday, June 14, on the proposed $34.1-million budget for the coming year.
The validation vote occurs town by town and follows the districtwide vote taken at Hancock Grammar School May 25.
RSU 24 includes Eastbrook, Ellsworth, Franklin, Gouldsboro, Hancock, Lamoine, Mariaville, Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan, Waltham and Winter Harbor.
Voters May 25 easily approved the budget after beating back efforts by several Hancock residents and town officials to institute $3.3 million in budget cuts.
The budget-cutting campaign followed word that Hancock is facing a $518,000 reduction in state aid under Maine’s Essential Programs and Services (EPS) formula due to declining student enrollment and high coastal real estate values.
Gary Hunt, chairman of the Hancock Board of Selectmen, said the cuts would send a message to the Legislature that the EPS formula is seriously flawed.
RSU 24 officials said they were sympathetic to Hancock’s plight and that of other towns in the RSU that are suffering cuts in state aid.
But Interim Superintendent Wayne Enman and Business Manager David Bridgham Bridgham said that even if Hunt’s proposed $3.3 million in budget cuts had been instituted, it would not have made up for the devastating state funding loss to his town.