While the Edgecomb School Committee has approved a 2018-2019 education budget with a 6.7 percent increase from last year’s budget, taxpayers will feel less than half of the increase due to other revenues coming into the town.
School committee members discussed the budget with community members during a public forum Wednesday, March 28, before approving the budget at the committee’s regular meeting Monday, April 2.
The 2018-2019 education budget totals $2,869,172, an increase of $180,235 or 6.7 percent. However, the town’s share of the budget totals $2,482,071.55, an increase of $61,334 or 2.53 percent from the previous year.
Growing revenue from other towns sending their students to Edgecomb Eddy School will limit the impact on the town’s taxpayers, Edgecomb Eddy School Principal Ira Michaud said. Edgecomb expects to receive $88,257 in tuition revenue for 2018-2019, an increase of $66,257 or 301.17 percent.
The school’s pre-kindergarten program, which accepts students who live in Alna and Westport Island, has increased school enrollment, Edgecomb School Committee Chair Tom Abello said.
The town will see some savings due to an adjustment in the loan for the school. The budget for debt service and other commitments totals $234,265.25, a decrease of $57,332 or 19.66 percent.
The school committee is recommending the purchase of a new bus as one currently in use is “on its last legs,” Abello said. The committee built the first of five $18,000 payments into its transportation budget, which totals $98,239.08, an increase of $18,688 or 23.46 percent.
The system administration budget totals $86,280, a decrease of $16,807 or 16.3 percent. The decrease is due to a vacant assistant superintendent’s position at AOS 98, Michaud said.
The rest of the expenses are as follows: regular instruction, $1,566,523.14, increase of $155,572 or 11.02 percent; special education, $504,786.18, increase of $46,512 or 10.15 percent; other instruction and summer school, $3,600, increase of $1,440 or 66.67 percent; student and staff support, $60,880.17, increase of $953 or 1.59 percent; school administration, $128,068.46, increase of $6,762 or 5.57 percent, facilities and plant operation, $177,939.69, increase of $22,448 or 14.44 percent; and school lunch, $8,500, an increase of $2,000 or 30.77 percent.
Edgecomb Budget Committee Chair Jack Brennan applauded the committee’s efforts to keep costs down at both the public forum March 28 and a presentation on the entire budget April 2.
“We have given a charge to have departments think creatively to create their own revenue, and I feel the school has done that with the pre-K program,” Brennan said.
Voters will have the final say on the education budget during the annual town meeting in May.