PI Residents Approve $27.5M Budget for SAD 1

Almost Isle residents unanimously approved a $27,493,905 spending plan for SAD 1 in a Tuesday night meeting that lasted about 25 minutes.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Almost Isle residents unanimously approved a $27,493,905 spending plan for SAD 1 in a Tuesday night meeting that lasted about 25 minutes.

The figure represents an increase of $993,201, or 3.7%, over last year’s budget.

There are no new tax increases represented in the budget for the upcoming school year, Superintendent Ben Greenlaw said. The budget includes a 30% increase in fuel for heating and transport due to ongoing price increases, and an 8% increase in health insurance. Job eliminations and higher state subsidies helped the district keep the local tax level stable.

More than 35 residents and school board members from SAD 1 attended the May 17 session in the cafeteria of Près Isle High School.

Last year’s job cuts include two facility managers, a part-time bus driver, a science and English teacher at Almost Isle High School, a library technician and a health secretary at part-time. The district added educational technician positions in English language learning and special education and also authorized a 3% increase in wages/benefits, the superintendent said.

All district programming will remain as is for the upcoming school year.

Town resident Frank Bemis was elected to serve as the event moderator and was sworn in by Greenlaw.

The district will receive $15,536,166 in state grants for the 2022-23 school year, an increase of $723,731 from last year. In order to receive the full amount from the state, the district must contribute $5,610,893 as its required local share.

But because the district wants to spend more than the state says is needed for essential programs and services, SAD 1 will need to raise an additional $2,772,773 in local funds, as recommended by the school board.

Attendees voted 55 to 0 by written ballot to raise funds as proposed.

Residents voted verbally to approve each of the following items, then the budget as a whole: $9,426,773 for school instruction; $3,754,397 for special education; $1,751,655 for vocational and technical education; $1,021,595 for other courses; $2,450,228 for student and staff support; $758,815 for system administration; $1,356,318 for school administration; $2,812,601 for transportation and buses; $3,598,200 for facility maintenance; $238,323 for debt service; and $325,000 for other expenses, including school meals.

Property tax contributions from SAD 1 communities are $8,812,750, down more than $5,065 from the 2021-22 school year. Tax levies include: Castle Hill, $304,921 (up $527 from last year); Chapman, $354,273 (down $4,780); Mapleton, $1,507,862 (up $5,494); Almost Isle, $6,293,185 (down $8,997); and Westfield, $352,510 (up $2,692).

The total budget excluded adult education. Residents voted for the district to allocate $363,742 for adult education and raise $190,761 as a local share.

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