BATH — The Regional School Unit 1 budget could increase by almost 12 percent, according to the first draft of the $33.7 million budget.

The increase of more than $3.7 million over the current budget is driven largely by the costs of building a new high school in Bath to replace the century-old building that houses Morse High School and the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center. While the state will pick up about 90 percent of the $74.6 million tab for building the new school, the school district is still on the hook for $7.9 million.

The district is moving forward with construction of the new school building, though the anticipated opening date was pushed back by a few months. The new school is expected to open in January of 2021. The district recently hired a general contractor to lead construction.

Without the new building project, the budget would increase by 4.4 percent, or about $1.3 million.

In the new budget, the district also is looking to add two additional days of English as a second language instruction in the schools, as well as two new ed tech positions — one at Dike-Newell School and one at Bath Middle School.

Other changes in the draft budget include adding a day of outdoor education at Phippsburg Elementary, adding a day of music education at Morse High School, and providing additional funds for substitute teachers.

While expenses are set to increase by nearly 12 percent in the district, the impact on the four communities comprising Regional School Unit 1 — Arrowsic, Bath, Phippsburg and Woolwich — varies according to student enrollment and other minor adjustments.

In Arrowsic, the smallest community in the district, the local contribution will actually decrease by about $56,000 or 10 percent. Meanwhile, in Bath, the largest community, the local contribution will increase by $265,273, or 2.5 percent. In Phippsburg, the local contribution will remain essentially flat at just under $3 million and in Woolwich, it will rise by $157,657, or $3.7 percent.

Superintendent Patrick Manuel did not respond Monday to requests for comment on the 2019-20 budget.

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