Residents in School Administrative District 15 will vote Tuesday on a $26.8 million school budget that would increase the tax rate.

The spending plan is $1.2 million, or 4.9 percent, higher than the current year. In Gray, that would add $58 to the tax bill for a $200,000 home. In New Gloucester, the increase would be $106 on the tax bill for a $200,000 home.

Superintendent Craig King said the budget for next year does not fund any major new initatives or increase staffing. Diane Boucher, director of finance and operations, said nearly 80 percent of new spending will go toward increases in salaries and health benefits.

Other new costs include a combined $170,000 for books, professional development and other tools to implement two new curriculum programs – science for middle school students and literacy for early elementary school students. The proposal also includes $116,000 to update technology infrastructure – wiring and servers – at the elementary schools. And the district and the town of Gray would share the cost of a school resource officer. The district would contribute nearly $40,000 toward that position, which is currently funded by a federal grant that expires in June.

The district would cut one position by not replacing a retiring elementary school teacher. Enrollments are projected to remain nearly flat next year.

Gray residents vote at the community center at 22 Main St. New Gloucester residents vote at the fire station at 611 Lewiston Rd. Polls in both towns are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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