OAKLAND — More employees are likely to lose their jobs in Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18 as officials develop alternatives to the proposed budget rejected at the polls last week.

Superintendent Gary Smith and administrators will develop two possible budget scenarios — one that’s $250,000 less than the rejected budget and another that’s $500,000 less, he said.

Smith said the cuts will be painful and “painful means jobs.”

The plan was made Monday night during a special board meeting to discuss how to proceed after the proposed $33,029,239 budget was rejected June 12.

“Democracy has spoken,” Smith said Tuesday. “We know these are very difficult times. The board, administrators and I felt this was the appropriate budget for the district; but it was not the right budget for the citizens of RSU 18.”

In the previous five years, 45 positions have been cut districtwide, Smith said.

Ten positions, including four teaching posts, already have been trimmed from the rejected budget.

The failed budget was $1.1 million more than the 2011-12 budget, but is less than the three budgets before that.

If the rejected budget had passed, annual property taxes on a $100,000 home would have risen in Belgrade by $51, in China by $59, in Oakland by $78, and in Sidney by $43. In Rome, annual property taxes would have decreased $9.

The superintendent said this is the first time that he or directors have dealt with a rejected budget, and they want to be thorough as they proceed.

A tentative timeline includes a district budget meeting July 26 and a validation vote Aug. 7, he said.

Until a new budget is approved, the district will operate with the $33,029,239 tally rejected at the polls but approved at May’s district budget hearing.

By state law, a school district that does not pass a budget before July 1 will operate with the one approved at its most recent budget meeting, according to David Connerty-Marin, Maine Department of Education spokesman.

Before the next district budget meeting, the school board will decide whether the proposed articles will be open or closed.

If an article is closed, voters may only move to decrease proposed spending, Smith said.

If an article is open, voter may move to increase or decrease spending, he said.

A total of 2,380 voters cast ballots when the budget failed by 38 votes.

Turnout in the district’s five communities was 20 percent or lower.

In Belgrade, 19 percent of the 2,471 registered voters cast ballots. In China, 20 percent of 3,000 registered voters did so. In Oakland, 17 percent of 4,371 registered voters turned out. In Rome, 14 percent of the community’s 872 registered voters participated. In Sidney, 15 percent of the town’s 2,923 registered voters cast ballots.

The budget passed in Belgrade, 274-206; in China, 315-306; and in Rome, 81-44. It failed in Oakland, 417-309; and in Sidney, 236-192.

The school board is scheduled to meet at 7 tonight at Mid-Day Cafe at Mid-Maine Technical Center in Waterville.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]