Yarmouth school budget may increase 4%

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YARMOUTH — The school superintendent’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 includes an increase of almost $844,000, or 3.98 percent.

If approved, the $22 million budget would result in about $800,000 in additional property taxes, or a 4.6 percent increase.

At a March 12 School Committee meeting, Superintendent Andrew Dolloff attributed much of the increase to personnel costs.

For example, rising health insurance costs account for a large portion of the proposed budget increase. In an initial budget presentation in January, Dolloff said the cost of the health insurance plan has increased 6 percent, but the district will see a 15 percent increase, or almost $388,000, because many staff members are switching to different levels of the plan.

Another large increase in the budget comes from salary increases of 2.5 percent, or almost $337,000.

Retirement costs have also increased as Dolloff said the state has “increased the required share of normal retirement costs from 2.75 percent to 3.36 percent.” This results in an increase of just over $66,500.

Other major “budget drivers,” according to Dolloff, are fuel conversion and transportation. The district is converting to a dual fuel system, which comes with an annual lease cost of just over $90,000. This saves the district $8,500 in fuel costs, leaving an outlay of $81,500.

The need for an additional school bus increases the budget by $18,000.

The budget will be presented to the Town Council in the spring, although a date has not yet been set. A town meeting will be held June 2 for members of the public to discuss the budget, before voting whether to approve it in a June 9 referendum.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I’m a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I’m from a small town in NH no one’s ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.