Voters in Waldoboro, Friendship, Washington, Warren, and Union will decide on a $24,032,456.26 K-12 education budget for Regional School Unit 40 at a referendum on Tuesday, June 9.
The budget, adopted by voters at an open meeting May 12, would be an increase of $1,138,886.46 or 4.97 percent over the current year.
“The budget addresses a number of needs that we have … and what we’re really trying to do with this is begin to close the gap regionally” on per-pupil education spending, Superintendent Steve Nolan said after the board of directors approved the budget in March.
In personnel-related costs, the budget includes salary increases for contractual and non-contractual employees totaling $565,000, $178,000 in teacher incentive funds for the current year, $43,500 for an increase in retirement contributions, and $132,000 to cover an estimated 4 percent increase in health insurance costs, according to district documentation.
The budget also includes $100,000 to expand the district’s pre-kindergarten program, $75,000 for a new social worker position, and $45,000 for a facilities and transportation coordinator position, among a variety of other new expenses.
Offsetting some of the proposed new expenditures would be $128,364 in savings due to teacher retirements or resignations, as well as savings due to debt refinancing, according to district documentation.
Nolan has also proposed staffing changes among the district’s seven schools, but those changes are intended to be “cost neutral,” he said previously.
“One piece to consider is in the end we asked our cost center heads, mostly our principals, to maintain the current level of funding on pretty much everything they could,” Nolan said in March, adding that a number of requests never made it before the board.
“I think in the end our board members recognized the items on the list as needs and were supportive of it,” he said at the time. One board member, Dorothy Robinson, of Warren, abstained from voting and board Chair Danny Jackson, of Waldoboro, voted against the budget because he felt the budget was too high.
The cost centers of the budget are proposed at:
- Regular instruction: $8,991,114, up $509,228 or 6 percent
- Special education: $4,463,581, up $360,307 or 8.78 percent
- Career and technical education: $788,931, up $80,149 or 11.31 percent
- Other instruction: $432,736, up $36,634 or 9.25 percent
- Student and staff support: $2,008,220, up $79,458 or 4.12 percent
- System administration: $630,473, up $36,173 or 6.09 percent
- School administration: $1,489,826, up $45,488 or 3.15 percent
- Transportation: $1,720,738, up $56,266 or 3.38 percent
- Facilities and maintenance: $2,188,599, up $102,438 or 4.91 percent
- Debt service: $1,293,238, down $167,253 or 11.45 percent
- All other expenditures: $25,000, flat
In addition to the budget’s overall increase, the district’s towns would face further increases to their local share due to an anticipated $188,112 decrease to state subsidy.
If the budget is approved at the referendum, the five member towns’ shares of the budget (as well as $55,000 for the local share of adult education) would be: Waldoboro, $4,936,351.89, up $375,707.31 or 8.24 percent; Warren, $3,707,500.49, up $203,848.04 or 5.82 percent; Washington, $1,404,800.54, up $109,274.05 or 8.43 percent; Union, $2,076,479.56, up $114,607.82 or 5.84 percent; and Friendship, $1,839,087.80, up $117,475.75 or 6.82 percent.
Waldoboro’s polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9 at the Waldoboro Municipal Building.