Dresden officials send out flyer calling for opposition to proposed budget for RSU 2

DRESDEN — Dresden officials are sending flyers to residents urging them to vote against Regional School Unit 2’s proposed $32.6 million budget for the 2021-22 school year.

Dresden has talked about the school’s budget since the district’s budgeting process began, and city officials voted Tuesday night to appoint a withdrawal committee to explore Dresden’s RSU 2 departure, according to the district administrator. city ​​Michael Faass.

City officials said they created the flyer because, if proposed, the spending plan would lead to “more bureaucracy and less scrutiny” and “property taxes would go up by at least $200.”

The flyer was posted on the city of Dresden’s unofficial Facebook page, where it received 40 comments and nine shares as of Thursday afternoon, with comments supporting or opposing the budget. It was also posted on the city’s website.

Faass said he supports the selectman’s position, which is to vote against the budget. He said he didn’t have any kids in the school district, but “$200 on a fixed income is a lot.”

The flyer invites residents to ask themselves, “Has your salary or fixed income increased by 8.8%? What impact will this have on other city departments? And has the quality of education for our children improved?

Dresden resident Jess Warren said he supported the proposed budget.

“RSU 2 said their insurance is growing and being myself in the insurance industry, this is a very real and costly hurdle that all policyholders are facing right now,” he said. she stated. “Coupled with the jumps in inflation from month to month, I am shocked that the increase is only 8%.

“Overall, I think this was misrepresented by our city officials and is an attempt to reach voters who have not formed opinions with biased misinformation.”

Warren was referring to the school board’s insurance rate, which has increased 22% due to events across the country in the past year, according to RSU 2. The insurance rate for school employees decreased by $145,000 and is not related to the school board’s insurance rate. .

If the school budget is approved, Dresden could see its cost for insurance expenses increase by 8.8%.

RSU 2 pays for its expenses with state funding, which is based on district size, as well as city allocations. Because the school district covers five municipalities — Dresden, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Monmouth and Richmond — its board has approved spending beyond what state guidelines recommend.

Dresden resident Marge Kilkelly commented on the Facebook post about the flyer, writing, “Is there a fact sheet for both sides of the question?

Kilkelly declined to comment further on the matter, but wanted to make sure “the conversation was balanced.”

Dresden resident Carol Sanborn, who has a child in the district, urged every voter to consider the facts to make an informed decision. She said she was upset to see the municipality taking a position on the issue.

Sanborn said teaching staff at RSU 2 have been working hard to keep schools safe for children during the coronavirus pandemic. Sanborn said when her son was in close contact with COVID-19, he “never missed a beat.”

“I don’t like paying higher taxes, but it’s an investment in money for our kids and the kids in the neighborhood,” Sanborn said. “It is useless if only my children are educated. I want the neighbor’s kids to be too, so they can learn and function as a society.

Joining the discussion was former RSU 2 board member Jeffrey Pierce, whose resignation was announced at the May 6 board meeting. His school board position can be nominated by the city, and one of the candidates for the seat, Jeffrey Bickford, was candid on Facebook, asking how many people attended the school board’s budget hearings.

“I attended the one on May 18 and there were 55 (attendees) total from the community,” Bickford wrote. “I asked a lot of questions that weren’t even addressed. For too long, our taxes have been monopolized by the public education system.

Bickford’s wife, Leah Bickford, wrote that she “highly doubts any of you would say you would support the budget increase and have any idea what this is heading for.”

RSU 2 officials attributed the proposed increase in spending to teacher contracts and expenses beyond the district’s control, including athletics, which is not fully funded by the state, or the costs of construction.

Dresden Elementary School Principal Sara Derosby has invited residents to a meeting next Wednesday with RSU 2 Superintendent Tonya Arnold to discuss questions and concerns forwarded to the proposed budget ahead of the June 8 vote. .

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