Budget rejected in Saco, in Dayton and overall; OK’d in OOB

Regional School Unit 23 rejected the $43.6 million budget, 2,325 to 1,925 on Tuesday, as Saco residents began collecting signatures to seek withdrawal from the school district.

Residents in Saco and Dayton rejected the budget, 1,833 to 878 and 272-168, respctively, while voters in Old Orchard Beach supported it, 879-220.

To pass, the budget must receive a majority vote across the three communities.

The budget, approved by the school board and residents at a regional budget meeting, would have eliminated 12 positions in an attempt to hold down costs while making up for reductions in revenue.

Despite an overall decrease, the budget proposal was opposed by many in Saco because it would require a tax increase in the city. The proposed budget would add $1.70 to the city’s property tax rate.

Concern over the budget total and a possible backlash from voters prompted the Saco City Council to set aside $30,000 in case residents want to explore withdrawing from Regional School Unit 23.

Superintendent Patrick Phillips said he is disappointed with the results, which send the district “back to the drawing board.”

The school board likely will hold a special meeting June 19 to consider how to adjust the budget. Phillips anticipates a regional budget meeting will be held around June 28, followed by a referendum the second week of July.

Under state statute, if a budget is not approved by July 1, the budget approved by voters at the regional budget meeting will be used to cover operational expenses until a final budget is approved.

This is the second time RSU 23 voters have rejected a budget. During the first year of the RSU, the budget was voted down and a  new one wasn’t approved until August. The district will begin its fourth year July 1.


Noise ordinance to expand barking law to include all animals fails

Raymond voters decided not to replace the town’s barking-dog ordinance with a new law that applies to all animals.

They voted 324-302 against the proposal, which arose out of a dispute between two neighbors of Ledge Hill Road.

The new law would have enabled the town to levy fines on Julie Sutherland if her 16 rescued roosters made too much noise. Her across-the-street neighbor, Wayne Gelston, has said his quality of life was resting on the vote.


School budget passes, despite all-day kindergarten group’s effort

Gorham residents approved the school district’s $32.2 million budget Tuesday, despite a group’s push to reject the budget because it didn’t include all-day kindergarten.

A group of Gorham parents were encouraging residents to vote against the 2012-2013 budget because it didn’t include funding for the program.

They approved the budget, 1,161 to 585.

Gorham is one of five districts in Cumberland and York counties that does not offer all-day kindergarten.

The group and the school district estimated that the program would cost between $380,000 and $400,000.

SAD 51

Challengers take SAD 51 seats in unofficial results

Two school board members in School Administrative District 51 faced challengers in Tuesday’s elections. Results were unavailable at press time.

In Cumberland, Karen Campbell lost her bid for a second three-year term on the board to former Town Councilor Jeff Porter, who earned 58 percent of the vote.

In North Yarmouth, unofficial results showed Jim Moulton, a former selectman and school board member, with a slight lead over Todd Nicholson, who was seeking a second term on the board. Moulton had 341 votes to Nicholson’s 327.

Voters in both towns approved the $30.4 million school budget for 2012-13, with 59 percent voting in favor of the budget.

Campbell, 50, is a married stay-at-home mom and a former human resources administrator. Porter, 46, is director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Portland.

Moulton, 63, operates Jim’s Auto Repair on Mill Road. Nicholson, 46, is director of advancement at the Maine Audubon Society and former director of merchandising at L.L.Bean.


Two incumbents among four candidates for three open seats

Four candidates ran for three open seats on the Yarmouth School Committee on Tuesday.

Two incumbents, David Ray and Craig Wolff, faced challengers Tim Wheaton, a former committee member, and Susan Garrett, a political newcomer.

Election results were unavailable at press time.

Garrett, 51, is an actor, teacher and director. Ray, 59, is an attorney at Bernstein Shur in Portland, where he specializes in construction contract law and dispute resolution.

Wheaton, 50, is national accounts marketing director at Unum. Wolff, 42, is a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland.

Town voters also considered a proposed $20.2 million school budget for 2012-13.


Mahoney, Farber win four-way race for two open seats

A political newcomer and a former school board member beat out two other candidates to win open seats on the Falmouth Town Council on Tuesday.

Sean Mahoney, 48, a lawyer with the Conservation Law Fund in Portland, and Karen Farber, 55, who served two terms on the Falmouth School Board, earned the most votes, with 1,492 and 1,416, respectively.

Farber is a non-attorney advocate at the Disability Rights Center in Augusta.

They defetead Russell Anderson, 60, a semi-retired business consultant who received 1,331 votes, and Bryan Dench, 63, a law partner at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott in Auburn, who received 976 votes.

Voters also approved a $29 million school budget for 2012-13, with 2,041 voting in favor of the budget and 658 opposed.


$24.9 million budget approved in Freeport, rejected in Pownal

Residents in Freeport voted 1,258 to 354 in favor of a proposed $24.9 million budget for Regional School Unit 5. Pownal voters rejected the budget 146-105.

Results from Durham weren’t available Wednesday morning.

The school district’s board of directors requested a 2012-13 budget that’s $989,806 or 4.14 percent more than current spending.