BATH — A $27.3 million Regional School Unit 1 budget for next year goes to the first of two district-wide votes Tuesday, May 26.
The fiscal 2016 spending plan, unanimously approved by the RSU 1 Board of Directors May 4, will then go to a validation referendum on Tuesday, June 9.
The proposed budget is down 3.6 percent from current spending. The exit of West Bath, which voted overwhelmingly last December to leave the school district at the end of June, is the major contributor to the decline.
The RSU’s total local contribution for this fiscal year was $18.8 million. The tax contribution without West Bath 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 increase, 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, Business Manager Debra Clark has said.
Bath’s piece of the tax bill could be $9.6 million, a hike of 4.7 percent; Arrowsic, about $452,000, up 3.9 percent; Phippsburg, nearly $3 million, up 6.5 percent; and Woolwich, $3.8 million, up 3.7 percent.
Voters at the May 26 meeting have the ability to amend budget line items; the total spending plan will be approved or rejected by the June 9 referendum.
There has been public support for Phippsburg’s band program to be increased by an additional half day per week, which would cost about $7,000, and for Woolwich’s art program to expand from four to five days a week, costing about $11,000. Those items remain unfunded, but could be added May 26.
The School Board has encouraged the public to attend the May 26 meeting and advocate for the additions.