Bath-area school board returns $256K to taxpayers

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BATH — Half of the nearly $512,000 in additional state aid received by Regional School Unit 1 for fiscal year 2018 will go to tax relief in the district’s four communities.

The RSU 1 Board of Directors on Monday unanimously approved allocating nearly $256,000 to reduce tax assessments to Bath, Arrowsic, Phippsburg and Woolwich, and putting the rest into a Morse High School/Bath Regional Career and Technical Center building reserve fund.

RSU 1 residents could vote in November whether to build a new high school at the Wing Farm Business Park.

As per guidance from the Maine Department of Education, RSU 1 is allocating the extra funds to its communities based on the percentage each was to pay in taxes in fiscal year 2018. Since Bath was to pay 56.6 percent of the total, it will receive that percentage, or nearly $145,000 of the $256,000.

Arrowsic is due to receive 3.1 percent, or about $7,800; Phippsburg, 17.5 percent, or nearly $45,000; Woolwich, 22.8 percent, or about $58,000.

RSU 1 had budgeted for an anticipated $9.44 million, according to Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed biennial state budget. But the district ultimately received $9.95 million in the final budget.

An article on warrant of the May 30 RSU 1 district budget meeting – where voters granted the first of two approvals of the 2018 budget – authorized the RSU 1 board to use additional state subsidy received after budget approval to “increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the School Board,” boost the allocation of funds in a board-approved reserve fund, or decrease expenses for local taxpayers.

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

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.