School districts are tasked with creating budgets that are both fiscally responsible and supportive of the learners they educate. We recognize these are challenging times.

As such, the Regional School Unit 5 leadership team and Board of Directors worked conscientiously to reduce the fiscal year 2021 budget by $447,010. Among the cuts is a furlough day for all staff. The board also used the majority of its undesignated fund balance to lower the tax impact. Currently, the budget reflects a 2.32 percent expenditure increase. This aligns directly with the projected student enrollment growth of 2.4 percent.

The FY 2021 budget will reduce taxes by an estimated 0.91 percent in Durham and raise them by an estimated 0.25 percent in Freeport and 0.14 percent in Pownal. Based on 2019 valuations, an owner of a $200,000 home in Durham would see an estimated $36.93 reduction in taxes, whereas in Freeport and Pownal, taxes would rise by $7.13 and $5.14, respectively.

Education advances the common good of our communities. In RSU 5, we work diligently to ensure all students receive an excellent education. We build citizens who will work to maintain the quality of life we currently enjoy in Durham, Freeport and Pownal.

On May 27, at 6 p.m., the RSU will hold a question-and-answer period. We invite residents to ask questions and voice opinions. On June 17 the annual budget meeting is scheduled at Freeport High School, followed by the referendum vote on July 14. I encourage you to pass this budget so we can continue educating resilient learners.

Becky Foley

superintendent, Regional School Unit 5

Freeport

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