FREEPORT — Voters in Regional School Unit 5 approved a $34 million school budget Tuesday.

Pownal also elected a town assessor, School Board director and cemetery commissioner.

The fiscal year 2020 school budget will increase $1.1 million from the current 2019 fiscal year. According to Superintendent of Schools Becky Foley, one of the major increases was funding for regular instruction, which went up nearly $840,000.

With the approval of the school budget, Durham residents can expect to see a 2.99 percent tax increase on the school portion of its tax rate, Freeport a 2.68 percent increase and Pownal a 2.86 percent increase.

The total estimated tax impact in each town is about $5.23 million in Durham, an increase of more than $207,000; $18.8 million in Freeport, up $685,000, and $3.1 million in Pownal, up $127,000.

According to Foley, 2.5 ed techs will be added to the staff and an endeavor program has been enacted at the high school that will allow students from their sophomore to senior year to make deeper connections with the faculty. Additionally, a new strategic plan is underway to increase student engagement.

“I am thrilled. This is the third year in a row that all three towns have passed a budget and I am just really excited,” Foley said. “I think that’s evidence of us trying to be fiscally responsible and present a budget that improves student achievements.”

Each town within the district also voted to continue to use the referendum process for the next three years.

The top candidate for Pownal’s town assessor was Andrew O’Brien, who received 107 of the 239 votes cast. Mary Angela King-Horne received 70 votes  and Joe Rankins received 43.

Two other races in Pownal were uncontested: Elisabeth Munsen will serve on the RSU 5 Board of Directors and Craig Vosmus was elected cemetery commissioner.

Voter turnout rates were low. Freeport saw 6.1 percent of registered voters show up at the polls, Pownal 17 percent and Durham 4.9 percent.

Taylor Abbott can be reached at 780-9123 or [email protected] Follow Taylor on Twitter: @tabbotttt.