Mixed reviews for upcoming RSU 19 school budget

Mixed reviews for upcoming RSU 19 budget

NEWPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Voters in the Newport area will be heading to the polls — again. After rejecting RSU 19's school budget in June, voters are being asked to approve a new, updated budget.

The new version was cut down by $1 million, but that means the loss of jobs, including five full-time teachers. This budget battle is receiving mixed reviews from residents.

Tammy Bowden has been living in Newport for more than a decade and she has seen her property tax double during that time. She works two jobs to pay for the increase in taxes.

"They just keep going up," Bowden said. "I'm not impressed. The economy is terrible. Everything keeps going up. I just don't think it's fair."

Superintendent Mike Hammer understands residents' frustrations, but he said the students that come out of RSU 19 are the future. "We want a good solid education for them," he said.

If this adopted budget is passed, there will be a 12 percent tax increase for most towns, according to Hammer. This issue isn't new to the area, either. Back in 2013, it took two referendums to get a budget passed. But Hammer said he is ready for the voters to approve this budget and start focusing on the students.

"I really want to move forward. I'll be frugel with the money that I get, but let's just get past this and turn the cover and think about the kids," he said.

The eight towns that make up RSU 19 can vote on the budget referendum on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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