Greater Bath school budget heads to voters

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BATH — The public will soon have the opportunity to weigh in on the $25.6 million Regional School Unit 1 budget.

The fiscal 2012 spending plan goes to the first of two public votes at a district budget meeting next week.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, May 31, at Bath Middle School at 6 p.m. A budget validation referendum on Tuesday, June 7, will conclude the process of cementing next year’s budget.

If approved by voters from the five RSU 1 communities, next year’s budget will include a 2.5 percent tax hike over the current year – a more than $413,000 increase, to nearly $17 million. The budget itself will increase nearly 3 percent, or about $730,000.

Superintendent William Shuttleworth has attributed the need for higher taxes to a $1.1 million decline in state and federal revenues.

Positions to be cut include a Bath Middle School home economics teacher, four Morse High School teachers; an educational technician job and a Woolwich fourth-grade teaching job (both vacated by retiring employees); a technology integration specialist (a job that may be absorbed elsewhere); a computer technology teacher at the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center; two district-wide elementary foreign language teachers, and two educational technicians.

With a 2.5 percent tax hike, Bath’s contribution will increase 4.36 percent to $8.1 million; Arrowsic’s will climb 4.83 percent to nearly $426,000; West Bath’s, 3.55 percent to $2.6 million, and Woolwich’s, 2.86 percent to $3.1 million.

Phippsburg’s tax burden would decrease 4.24 percent to $2.7 million.

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.