Bath-area school taxes could rise 3.5%

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BATH — Regional School Unit 1 rolled out next year’s proposed budget Monday night and is projecting a 3.51 percent hike in taxes next year.

The fiscal 2017 spending plan would 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.

Salaries and benefits, which comprise 68 percent of the budget, could rise 3.81 percent to reach a total $19.3 million.

Three new positions, averaging about $70,000 each including benefits, have been added: A middle school foreign language teacher, a STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) teacher at Morse High School, and a district-wide technology integration position, according to RSU 1 Business Manager Debra Clark.

The budget also includes approximately $58,000 toward increased time for an elementary school nurse. A part-time position is being replaced by a full-time employee, Clark said earlier this week.

Public forums on the spending plan will be held at Bath Middle School, 6 Old Brunswick Road, at 6 p.m. both Monday, April 6, and Monday, April 27. Once approved by the RSU 1 Board of Directors, the budget goes to two public votes: A district budget meeting May 26, and a budget validation referendum June 9.

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.