RSU 1 budget decreases, but taxes are rising
BATH — The Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the final draft of the fiscal 2010 budget on Monday, May 18. Directors will also sign a warrant for the June 2 public budget meeting and June 9 budget validation referendum.
The board held a workshop at Bath Middle School on Tuesday to further discuss the proposed $25.2 million budget, which is down 0.26 percent from this year.
Meanwhile, taxes are up 1.79 percent to a total $16.6 million. Spread across RSU 1's five communities, Bath sees a 0.06 percent increase to $7.9 million, Arrowsic an 11.07 percent increase to $474,197, Phippsburg a 1.24 percent decrease to $2.9 million, West Bath a 5.78 percent increase to $2.6 million and Woolwich a 5.24 percent increase to $2.7 million.
Superintendent William Shuttleworth said taxes have increased for two reasons: reduced state subsidy and less carryover.
The district is receiving $7.7 million from the state – $185,000 less than in fiscal 2009. RSU 1 also has nearly $242,000 less in its carryover balance. While its actual carryover was $572,000 more than the $300,000 listed in the budget for fiscal 2010, Shuttleworth said, the law that created RSU 1 mandates that the amount be sent back to the district's communities, where it has been used to offset local taxes.
The district has made cuts in under-utilized programs, including the business program at Bath Regional Vocational Center, and did not fill some positions that were vacated by retirements, Shuttleworth said. Stimulus money from the federal government for special education and Title 1 has offset some of next year's expenses, and the district has locked into an oil rate of $1.85 per gallon, less than the $3.05 rate for fiscal 2009.
Some proposed additions to the budget include:
• New calculus, biology and physics advanced placement classes at Morse High School.
• Expanding the Maine Learning Technology Initiative at Morse High for all students and staff.
• A shared assistant principal role for Bath Middle School and Morse High, serving as an administrative link for eighth-graders transitioning into the high school the following year.
• Pre-kindergarten for 50 to 60 4-year-old children.
• A senior projects/literacy coach at Morse High.
• Adding two new programs – electricity and diversified occupations – at Bath Regional Vocational Center.
The May 18 meeting will begin at the Fisher-Mitchell School in Bath at 6 p.m.
Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.