RSU 1 communities meet June 1 on budget

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BATH — Voters in the greater Bath school district will have their initial vote on a nearly $25 million fiscal 2011 budget on Tuesday, June 1.

The Regional School Unit 1 budget will then go to a final vote at the budget validation referendum on Tuesday, June 8.

Next year’s proposed budget is 0.53 percent smaller than the current year. But the local contribution for fiscal 2011 would increase nearly 1 percent, or about $160,000, to $16.6 million.

RSU 1 expects significant revenue reductions, including a more than $400,000 cut in state subsidy.

Three communities would see their contributions decrease through the district’s cost-sharing formula: Arrowsic, down 16 percent to more than $407,000; Phippsburg, down 3.58 percent to $2.85 million, and West Bath, down 0.58 percent to $2.51 million.

Bath would contribute $7.84 million, 0.62 percent more than the current year, and Woolwich would pay nearly $3 million, an increase of 11.57 percent.

RSU 1 Superintendent William Shuttleworth has said Woolwich’s significant increase is due to a rise in property value, as well as a student enrollment hike due to construction of a new school, which is scheduled to open in September 2012.

The budget eliminates five teachers in kindergarten through eighth-grade foreign language, with one teacher retiring. Elementary school foreign language classes would shift from classroom instruction to Web-based learning. RSU 1 has considered language instruction products such as Rosetta Stone for this purpose, and a world language technology integration specialist will be hired to aid all schools in acclimating to Web-based learning.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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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.