Regional School Unit 1 board to vote on budget

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BATH — The proposed budget for Regional School Unit 1 goes to a Board of Directors vote Monday, May 4, before being put in the hands of voters.

The budget has remained unchanged after public hearings held April 6 and 27. Public support was expressed at both meetings for Phippsburg’s band program to be increased by an additional half day per week, which would cost about $7,000, based on current employees according to RSU 1 Business Manager Debra Clark.

Band had been reduced from two days a week to 1.5 days in 2012.

The board had also received requests from the public to increase art from four to five days a week in Woolwich, which would cost about $11,000, Clark said.

The proposed $27.3 million fiscal 2016 spending plan is down 3.6 percent from current spending. The major contributor to the decline is the loss of West Bath, which voted overwhelmingly last December to leave the school district at the end of June.

RSU 1’s total local contribution for the current fiscal year was $18.8 million. Without West Bath, the tax contribution would have been $16.1 million. Total local taxes for next year could be $16.8 million, or an apples-to-apples increase of 4.8 percent.

Of that hike, 3.1 percent would be due to additional expenses, while 1.7 percent, or about $273,000, is the net impact of West Bath’s withdrawal: loss of both revenue and expenses from the town, and additional state and tuition revenue to the district, Clark said.

Of the remaining RSU 1 communities, Bath could pay $9.6 million in taxes, a hike of 4.7 percent; Arrowsic, about $452,000, up nearly 4 percent; Phippsburg, nearly $3 million, up 6.6 percent; and Woolwich, $3.8 million, up 3.7 percent.

The May 4 School Board meeting will take place at Bath Middle School at 6 p.m.

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.