Bath-area voters approve $29M school budget

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BATH — Voters in the four Regional School Unit 1 communities approved a $29 million school budget for fiscal year 2018.

The 560-130 vote passed in Bath, 294-74; Arrowsic, 63-8; Phippsburg, 83-17; and Woolwich, 120-31.

“We’re very pleased with the support of the budget, and appreciate everybody that came out and was involved with the process, either at the (May 30) district meeting, and also coming to vote at referendum,” RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said in an interview Wednesday.

“Hopefully people respected the process that we used, and feel it’s a budget that supports education, but also is responsible,” he added.

The May 30 district budget meeting, which drew 38 voters and took about 40 minutes, preceded Tuesday’s referendum, which concluded the fiscal year 2018 budget process.

The 2.9 percent, or $715,000, spending increase could result in a 4.5 percent overall growth in the tax rate. Of the total $29 million budget, $17.8 million could come from taxes – up about $664,000 from the current year.

The tax impact across the four communities in RSU 1 is estimated at $10.1 million in Bath, up 3.7 percent; $544,000 in Arrowsic, up 7.2 percent; $3.1 million in Phippsburg, up 3.4 percent, and $4 million for Woolwich, up 4.2 percent.

The district’s Anthem Health Insurance rates, for which a 7 percent increase had originally been budgeted, came in at 5.5 percent, saving RSU 1 about $17,000.

RSU 1 expects to receive $9.4 million in state aid – a $74,000 increase.

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.