BUCKSPORT — Voters from Bucksport, Verona Island, Orland and Prospect on Tuesday approved the 2017-2018 Regional School Unit 25 (RSU 25) budget, which the RSU 25 Board had been working on for months.
The $14,338,915 budget is a 2.63 percent increase over last year’s budget. Voters from each of the RSU 25 towns gave the budget their preliminary approval at last month’s budget meeting at the Bucksport Middle School.
RSU 25 Superintendent Jim Boothby said the primary drivers for the budget increase are personnel costs, which involve salaries and insurance. Still, Boothby was pleased to say that the insurance number only increased 5.33 percent, which is the lowest increase the district has seen in eight years.
Boothby said the special education budget also has increased along with the number of students who receive special services. He said that number is 240 students, or 22 percent of the student body. The total student population is up this year at 1,080.
“Last year we were at 1,059,” Boothby said. “We’re seeing a positive trend.”
The amount that RSU 25 will receive from the state in general purpose aid for the 2017-2018 year has not yet been determined. Voters at the budget meeting approved a warrant item that allows the School Board to use those funds to reduce the local assessments for education, increase capital reserve funds, increase expenditure or a combination of the options.
Still, Boothby said the board will consult with district communities before it commits to spending that aid money in any way.
“We will always involve the communities before any action is taken by the board,” he said.