UMaine System trustees approve 2012-13 budget

University of Maine System trustees approved a 2012-13 budget Monday that, for the first time in 25 years, won’t increase undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees charged to state residents.

System administrators presented a balanced $529 million budget for seven universities that includes a $2.3 million decrease in state funding, according to a news release.

Trustees agreed to freeze tuition and mandatory fees despite a projected .5 percent enrollment drop in the 2012-13 academic year, according to budget documents.

To lessen the impact of the tuition freeze, the system will spend $1 million from reserves and $2.1 million of the state appropriation that had been designated for strategic purposes.

Total annual in-state tuition and mandatory fees range from $7,300 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle to $10,594 at the University of Maine in Orono.

Chancellor James Page, who has faced controversy over university hiring and spending practices since he started in March, said the system’s current path isn’t sustainable over the long term.

Page said he will work to stabilize the system by promoting performance-based funding and reallocating savings from administration and infrastructure improvements to support teaching, research and public service.


District faces important votes on school spending

Regional School Unit 5 — encompassing Freeport, Durham and Pownal — faces two important school-spending votes today and Wednesday.

The district’s teachers’ union will vote today on a contract proposal that the RSU 5 board of directors unanimously approved on May 9. Details of the contract, the first since the district formed in 2010, have not been released.

On Wednesday, the district will hold its annual budget meeting to seek public approval of a $24.9 million spending plan for the 2012-13 school year.

The proposed budget is up $989,806, or 4.14 percent, over current spending. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the gym at Freeport High School.

Each town will hold an individual budget referendum during the June 12 primary election.


Fight at Auburn apartment results in three arrests

Police say a fight at an Auburn apartment resulted in the arrests of three men.

Authorities said they arrived at the Pleasant Street apartment about 3 a.m. Sunday to find several people fighting.

They arrested 21-year-old Devin Charest of Lewiston on charges of robbery, assault, burglary and unlawful possession of schedule drugs; 18-year-old Corey Brume of Auburn on charges of robbery, assault and burglary; and 23-year-old Jeffrey Gould of Auburn on charges of robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

Police told the Sun Journal the incident is being investigated.


Body of Bay State hiker recovered from crevasse

The body of a Massachusetts hiker has been recovered from a Mount Washington crevasse.

Sixty-seven-year-old Norman Priebatsch of Boston lost his footing and fell hundreds of feet into the crevasse while hiking with his son at Tuckerman Ravine on April 1.

A ranger had been lowered into the crevasse after Priebatsch fell but could not see or hear him. Officials determined he couldn’t have survived the fall.

The search was suspended after conditions on Mount Washington became too treacherous.

On Sunday, officials determined that a tunnel leading to the crevasse had melted enough for searchers to enter it. They recovered the body in about two hours.

— From staff and news services