BATH — Next year’s Regional School Unit 1 budget could rise nearly 12 percent, to $33.7 million, according to a draft presented at Monday’s Board of Directors meeting.

Most of the $3.6 million increase is due to $3.4 million in debt service toward construction of a new Morse High School, a hike of $2.2 million (187 percent).

Without that expense, the budget would be $31.4 million, an increase of $1.3 million (4.42 percent).

Offsetting expenditures is $13.1 million in state subsidy, which includes $2.3 million toward debt service. With all revenues subtracted, the remaining $18.6 million is to be assessed to RSU 1’s four-member communities, a 2 percent hike.

Of that amount, Bath would be taxed $10.7 million (up 2.54 percent), Arrowsic $493,000 (down 10.3 percent), Phippsburg nearly $3 million (down 0.03 percent), and Woolwich $4.4 million (up 3.7 percent).

The estimated school budget impact on a $100,000 home would be a $15.64 increase in Bath and $25.71 hike in Woolwich, and decreases of $69.26 in Arrowsic and 77 cents in Phippsburg, according to Finance Director Debra Clark.

Other approximate budget increases include literacy materials for the reading curriculum of grades kindergarten to five ($160,000), two additional days a week for an English as a Second Language teacher ($41,000), one day per week of an outdoor classroom at Phippsburg Elementary School ($15,000), enhancement of Morse’s music program ($15,000), two new educational technicians ($45,000 each), and additional substitute teacher funds ($20,000).

Public forums on the spending plan will be held Monday, April 1, and Monday, April 22. Both will be held at Bath Middle School at 6 p.m.

The School Board is due May 6 to adopt the budget, which then goes to two votes by RSU 1 residents: a May 28 district budget meeting, and a June 11 budget validation referendum.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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