May 24, 2018
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DI, Stonington to vote on school budget

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

DEER ISLE, Maine — Voters in Deer Isle and Stonington will be asked to approve a $6.4 million Community School District budget when they gather Thursday for the annual district budget meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the high school cafeteria.

The total budget of $6,455,772 represents an increase of $153,836 or 2.44 percent above the current school budget. According to Superintendent Robert Webster, the bulk of the increase, about $91,500, comes from contracted increases in salaries and benefits.

In addition, there is a significant increase in the career and technical education line in the budget of about $36,000 which reflects an increase in tuition because of a larger number of students attending Hancock County Technical Center in Ellsworth next year. The budget, Webster said, also includes $10,000 in the guidance ac-count, which, if approved, would add a substance abuse counselor for the schools.

The budget does not call for any staff reductions in the coming year, Webster said.

“We’ve had to make cuts in the past,” he said. “But there are no layoffs or position cuts this year.”

Although the budget will go up by $153,836, the local assessment will increase considerably more than that, according to Webster. The total assessment for the district for the coming year, if the budget is approved, will be $5,505,945, an increase of $277,038 from the current year’s assessment. That increase reflects the increase in the budget, plus the loss of subsidy through state budget cuts and the state penalty imposed on the district because a school reorganization plan was not approved.

Based on Maine’s Essential Programs and Services formula and the district assessment formula, Deer Isle’s share of the budget will be $3,651,360 and Stonington’s share will be $1,722,197.

Voters also will decide whether to continue the budget validation process, which calls for a second vote to confirm the action taken at the annual budget meeting. The district instituted the validation process six years ago, before it was mandated by the state, and has since extended it for a three-year period.

The budget validation will appear as a question on the local ballots in both towns during the primary elections on June 8.

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