RSU 25 residents at the Bucksport Middle School Auditorium Wednesday approve a $15.1-million school budget for FY 2018-19, which starts July 1. Special education and minimum wage increases are driving the budget up $815,000. PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

RSU 25 voters approve $15M education budget

BUCKSPORT — Regional School Unit 25 (RSU 25) voters took less than an hour Wednesday to approve a $15,156,407 million education budget for FY 2018-19, which starts July 1.

RSU 25 is comprised of the towns of Bucksport, Orland, Prospect and Verona Island.

About 32 residents and selectmen from those towns attended the meeting, which was held at the Bucksport Middle School Auditorium. No one asked questions during the warrant article portion of the meeting.

Longtime educator Harvey Kelley Jr. moderated the meeting.

The upcoming year’s budget is an increase of $817,492 over the current budget of $14,338,915, according to budget materials provided at the meeting.

RSU 25 Superintendent Jim Boothby has previously described the upcoming fiscal year as a “corrective” year.

Most of the increase in the budget can be attributed to increased special education costs and increased wages across the district due to the minimum wage increase.

Maine voters in 2016 approved an increase in Maine’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020. On Jan. 1 of this year, minimum wage became $10 an hour. The wage will increase a dollar a year until 2020, when it caps at $12 an hour.

Because new staff were being paid closer to what experienced staff were paid, the wages of existing staff were raised.

Voters will decide whether to validate the budget during a referendum Tuesday, June 12, at their respective town offices.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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