After approving individual warrant articles during a vote in May, voters in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel formally approved the budget for Regional School Unit 21 on Tuesday.

The budget encompasses just shy of $39 million in total costs. That represents an increase of nearly 5 percent from fiscal year 2014, according to figures provided by the district.

Kennebunk voted 1,326 in favor of the budget, with 978 against and 66 blank; 386 Kennebunkport voters approved it, with 236 against and 11 blank; and Arundel approved the measure with 189 votes for, 172 against and five blank.

Outgoing Superintendent Andrew Dolloff said last month that the budget was crafted with an eye toward mitigating the impact to taxpayers, resulting in a relatively small increase over the current year’s budget. While residents of Kennebunkport will see an estimated tax increase of just over 2 percent with the new budget, Arundel citizens will pay less than 1 percent more, and those in Kennebunk less than 1/2 percent.

One of the largest increases to the budget is in the area of facilities. Those have garnered attention during the past year, as school officials have highlighted deficiencies in several school buildings in an attempt to get a renovation measure passed. In January, voters soundly rejected a proposal that would have simultaneously renovated Kennebunk High School, the Middle School of the Kennebunks, and Mildred L. Day School in Arundel at a cost of about $75 million.

“We got a clear signal that these plans are not palatable for voters,” said School Board Chairman Kevin Knight earlier this year. “For better or worse, that is part of the process.”

Figures provided by the RSU show that the proposed 2015 facilities budget represents about a 19 percent increase over the current year, coming in at roughly $4.1 million of the total budget.

In order to address the most pressing facilities issues, voters in all three towns approved a second article, essentialy giving the RSU 21 School Board authority to issue bonds in the name of the district for just shy of $2 million through the state’s zero interest rate/loan forgiveness Revolving Renovation Fund Program. That vote passed 1,556 to 715 in Kennebunk (79 blank); 464 to 160 in Kennebunkport (nine blank); and 215 to 117 in Arundel (34 blank).

— Staff Writer Jeff Lagasse can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 319 or [email protected]



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