Voters in Regional School Unit 40 validated a $24,032,456.26 K-12 education budget for 2015-2016 at referendum June 9 in a 712-477 vote.
The budget was adopted by voters at an open meeting May 12, and required validation by referendum.
“I really appreciate the support of our community for our schools,” said Superintendent Steve Nolan the morning of June 10.
“We have some details to work on now as far as finishing the process, but as the new fiscal year starts we’re going to get started with implementing everything the budget supports,” Nolan said.
Votes were reported as: Waldoboro, 441 yes, 279 no; Friendship, 40 yes, 35 no; Warren, 52 yes, 61 no; Washington, 59 yes, 36 no; and Union, 120 yes, 66 no.
The budget, which is an increase of $1,138,886.46 or 4.97 percent over the current year, is an effort to close the per-pupil education spending gap between RSU 40 and other area districts, Nolan said previously.
Cost-center heads were asked to keep funding as flat as they could during budget development, Nolan said.
Most of the increase to the budget is due to personnel-related costs, including $565,000 in salary increases for district employees; $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 new positions for a social worker ($75,000) and a facilities/transportation coordinator ($45,000).
The budget increase was partially offset by $128,364 in savings due to teacher retirements or resignations, as well as savings due to debt refinancing, according to district documentation.
The budget includes $100,000 to expand the district’s pre-kindergarten program, $10,000 for Medomak Valley’s football team, and $36,000 for lease-purchases of a bus and two vans, among other items.
With the budget’s final approval, local assessments to fund the budget are expected to increase beyond the 4.97 overall budget increase due to an anticipated $188,112 decrease in state subsidy.
Proposed town assessments to fund the K-12 budget and $55,000 for adult education, according to district documentation, are: 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.