Bath-area RSU backs $30M school budget

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BATH — A $30.1 million budget for fiscal year 2019 is on its way to Regional School Unit 1 voters.

The RSU 1 Board of Directors on Monday unanimously approved the spending plan, which drew no comments from the public, Business Manager Debra Clark reported the next day.

The audience was similarly quiet at a public hearing April 30.

The budget now goes to two votes by RSU 1 residents: a district budget meeting at Bath Middle School, 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, and a budget validation referendum at various polling places June 12.

No changes were made to the final figures, but the board made adjustments in two cost center allocations, Clark said.

“The dean of student positions were removed from the instruction cost center and are now being charged to the school administration cost center,” she said in an email. “When developing the job description, it was decided that the contracts are going to fall under the administrative bargaining agreement and that was the reason for the change.”

The $18.2 million RSU 1 seeks to raise in taxes would increase nearly $470,000 from the current local contribution. Of this amount, Bath would be assessed $10.4 million (up 3.67 percent); Arrowsic, nearly $550,000 (up 0.99 percent); Phippsburg, nearly $3 million (down 3.78 percent); and Woolwich, $4.3 million (up 5.26 percent).

The district is receiving more state aid to education this year to offset expenses – $10.1 million, a nearly $690,000 increase.

About 70 percent of the proposed budget, or $21.1 million, is made up of salaries and benefits.

Up 5.74 percent over current spending, that category includes several new positions: three additional special educational technicians at the Phippsburg, Dike Newell and Fisher Mitchell elementary schools; a part-time finance clerk in the district’s business office; and an educational technician for math intervention at Woolwich Central School.

One day a week is also being added for Assistant Superintendent Katie Joseph in order to budget that position at full time. Instead of one full-time assistant principal splitting time between Woolwich and Bath Middle School, that role would be replaced by two full-time dean of student positions, one for each school.

A computer science teaching position at Bath Middle School is being replaced with a new social studies teacher.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.