NEWPORT, Maine — Residents of Newport and its neighboring communities voted to approve a $22.8 million school budget for Regional School Unit 19 on Tuesday, according to Superintendent Gregory Potter.
Residents in the school district’s eight towns voted 1,006 to 949 to approve the budget, Potter said.
“We’re very pleased that the budget has passed,” he said Wednesday. “There are certain needs that we feel we’re not going to meet due to trying to be very sensitive to controlling costs and controlling spending.”
The budget represents an increase of $124,703 over last year’s budget, or about one half of one percent. Health care costs have gone up by 9.5 percent and teacher and driver salaries have each gone up by 2 percent, which accounts for part of the budget increase, according to documents posted on the RSU 19 website.
Potter said the school district also faced a decrease in the amount of revenue coming from the state because the student population has declined. That’s an issue that he said will not go away in the coming years.
“We’re going to project a continued reduction in state dollars, given enrollment trends,” he said.
As a result, the district will forego adding programs such as a student support program in math and additional professional development for teachers, Potter said.
Last year it took two votes before residents approved the 2013-2014 school budget. After voters failed to pass the budget during the June referendum, the budget was reduced slightly and approved in August.
It took three tries before voters approved a $2.8 million stabilization loan for the district in 2013.