School Administrative District 75 sends $37.6M budget to voters

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TOPSHAM — A $37.6 million budget for next year will go before School Administrative District 75 voters twice in the next few weeks.

The spending plan, which the SAD 75 Board of Directors unanimously endorsed May 12, is an increase from $36.9 million this year. Offsetting revenues, which total $15.1 million, primarily include a $14.6 million contribution from the state.

Subtracting those revenues from the total budget, $22.5 million could come through taxes from SAD 75’s four towns, an increase of 2.22 percent, or about $489,000.

Topsham’s share is projected to be $9.2 million, up 3.41 percent; Harpswell could pay $7.7 million, an 0.84 percent increase; Bowdoin, $2.7 million, up 2.24 percent, and Bowdoinham, $2.8 million, up 2.22 percent.

Almost $210,000 in proposed budget increases includes $150,000 for architectural planning of a new Mt. Ararat High School; $51,000 for a new teacher at the Williams-Cone Elementary School because of a reduction in class sizes, and $63,000 for a teacher of the deaf who would also be an interpreter.

A 3 percent increase in salaries is also built into the spending plan.

Approximately $167,000 in reductions include eliminating a teaching position at the Woodside and Bowdoinham Community schools due to declining enrollment. Due to anticipated retirements, Superintendent Brad Smith said he does not expect anyone to be laid off.

The district is also planning for savings from the retirement of five full-time employees, and one half-time staff member; longtime employees at a higher pay grade will be replaced by newer staff, who are paid less.

The budget goes before voters at a district budget meeting at the Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, and in a budget validation referendum in the four towns Tuesday, June 14.

Log onto link75.org for more budget information.

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.