Bath-area School Board tweaks budget with 2 additions

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BATH — The Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors on Monday unanimously supported two small additions to next year’s proposed budget.

The panel will consider a third when it votes on the spending plan Monday, May 2.

The approved additions include $12,000 for a nurse to come one day a week to Phippsburg Elementary School, and $6,000 toward the boys and girls lacrosse program at Bath Middle School, according to RSU 1 Business Manager Debra Clark.

The board will also consider another $3,000 for an after-school robotics program for grades seven and eight at Bath Middle and Woolwich Central schools.

If all three items are added, and some reductions are made to compensate, Clark said Tuesday that she expected district-wide taxes would increase from 3.44 percent to the 3.51 percent hike projected in March.

The fiscal 2017 spending plan would meanwhile increase 3.44 percent – adding about $939,000 – to $28.3 million. Offsetting revenues include $9.4 million in state subsidy, up about $53,000.

The $17.1 million in taxes assessed to the four member communities reflect a 3.51 percent, or nearly $580,000, increase. Bath’s share would be $9.7 million, up 3.52 percent; Arrowsic’s, about $508,000, a 12.32 percent hike; Phippsburg’s, $3 million, up about 1.75 percent, and Woolwich’s, $3.9 million, a 3.78 percent increase.

The panel approved the changes prior to a public hearing on the budget, which drew no comment from the audience. Community members had requested the changes in advance of the meeting, held at Bath Middle School.

Once backed by the RSU 1 board May 2, the budget will undergo two public votes: a district budget meeting May 31, and a budget validation referendum June 14.

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

Tim Harkins, at right, chairman of the Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors, discusses additions to next year’s proposed budget at a hearing Monday. At left is RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel.

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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.