Bath-area voters OK RSU 1 budget by 3-1 margin

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BATH — Regional School Unit 1 voters approved a $28.3 million budget, 1,032-313, at Tuesday’s referendum, according to unofficial results.

A second question, on whether to continue that budget validation referendum process, also passed, 939-366.

Bath voters approved next year’s spending plan 390-124, as did those in Arrowsic (118-14), Phippsburg (214-65), and Woolwich (310-110).

“We’re pleased with the budget results, and appreciate the time and effort that the administrative team and the School Board put into this budget process,” RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said in an interview Wednesday, thanking residents of the four communities for their support.

District-wide taxes are due to increase 3.44 percent. The fiscal 2017 spending plan is rising 3.39 percent – adding nearly $928,000 – to $28.3 million.

Offsetting revenues include $9.4 million in state subsidy, up about $53,000.

Salaries, which comprise nearly 68 percent of the budget, are $19.2 million, a 3.38 percent hike.

The $17.1 million in taxes assessed to the four member communities reflect an increase of about $568,000, or 3.44 percent. Bath’s share is $9.7 million, up 3.45 percent; Arrowsic’s, nearly $508,000, a 12.26 percent hike; Phippsburg’s, $3 million, up about 1.71 percent, and Woolwich’s, $3.9 million, a 3.71 percent increase.

The largest budget expense – $10.9 million for regular instruction, up more than $300,000 from current spending – funds salaries and benefits for teachers and support staff, along with classroom supplies, books, equipment and repairs.

The spending plan includes a $45,000 half-time Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math, or STEAM, teacher at Morse High School, as well as a middle school foreign language teacher and district-wide technology integration position, both averaging about $70,000, each including benefits. A day of music at Morse has been added as well.

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.