Voters ratify school budget for Bath, 4 surrounding towns

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BATH — Voters in the five communities of Regional School Unit 1 on Tuesday ratified the fiscal 2012 budget.

The budget passed 555-194, according to preliminary results.

Bath voters approved the spending plan, 292-83. It passed 46-7 in Arrowsic, 59-17 in Phippsburg, 77-57 in West Bath and 81-30 in Woolwich.

“I think it shows overwhelming community support for public education,” RSU 1 Superintendent of Schools William Shuttleworth said Tuesday night.

The $25.6 million budget was initially approved in a town hall-style meeting last week.

Next year’s budget includes a 2.5 percent tax hike, boosting the levy by more than $413,000, to nearly $17 million. The budget itself will increase nearly 3 percent, or about $730,000.

Shuttleworth has cited a $1.1 million decline in state and federal revenues as a key reason behind the need for higher taxes.

The increase means 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 will 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.