DEER ISLE — Deer Isle-Stonington residents Monday approved an education budget for the FY 2018-19 school year totaling $6,690,467.
The meeting, attended by about 60 island residents and school staff members, was held at the Deer Isle-Stonington High School gymnasium.
The spending total is an increase of 3.72 percent over the current budget, according to Union 76 Superintendent Christian Elkington. The increase is largely due to special education increases and higher health insurance costs for staff.
Residents will be asked to validate the budget during the statewide referendum Tuesday, June 12. Both Deer Isle and Stonington town offices will hold polling hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A few residents had questions about school funding articles.
Before a vote to spend $700,280 for facilities maintenance and operation, one resident commented on the state of the high school building, which is deteriorating.
“When we had Butch’s [Ciomei] funeral here, this building was an embarrassment,” the man said. “You folks are an embarrassment.”
Moderator Walter Kumiega of Deer Isle replied, “That’s inappropriate.”
Superintendent Elkington agreed with the disgruntled resident.
“If the will of the voters is to use this building in some way, we’ll need to get on this,” he said.
Another resident asked about what impact enrollment has on state subsidy.
“It has some,” Elkington said. “Valuation is the big thing. Students do make a difference. It is part of the formula and right now in Augusta the formula is ever-changing.”
School Board member Skip Greenlaw said, “We get very little state subsidy due to low enrollment and high valuation. Most of the subsidy we do get goes for debt service and free lunch. By and large we get no state subsidy for supporting general education.”
A woman questioned why the proposed expenditure for technical education had been reduced for next year. This year, $111,705 had been allocated. Next year, $60,000 is planned.
“We’re expecting fewer students to go to the vocational center next year,” Elkington said. “Also, the funding formula has changed so … we’ll be sending less. The regional centers are now getting more money from the state.”