Bath-area RSU eyes 3.9% spending increase

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BATH — The Regional School Unit 1 fiscal 2019 budget, introduced at Monday’s Board of Directors meeting, proposes a 3.87 percent spending increase, resulting in a 2.64 percent hike in tax assessments to its four communities.

About 70 percent of the proposed $30.1 million budget, or $21.1 million, is comprised 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 per 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 is being replaced by two full-time dean of student positions, one for each school.

No positions would be cut.

RSU 1 is receiving more state aid to education this year to offset expenses – $10.1 million, a nearly $690,000 increase.

The $18.2 million the district seeks to raise in taxes would be up 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).

Public forums on the spending plan are to be held at Bath Middle School at 6 p.m. Monday, April 2, and Monday, April 23. The RSU 1 Board of Directors is due May 7 to approve the budget, which then goes to two decisions before RSU 1 voters: a district budget meeting May 29, and a budget validation referendum June 12.

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.