BATH — Voters in Regional School Unit 1 approved a $38.2 million spending plan for fiscal year 2021 at the polls Tuesday.

The budget passed in Bath 1,732-348; in Woolwich 540-163; in Phippsburg 436-60; in Arrowsic 179-25.

The new budget will raise taxes an average of 2.1% across the district. Specifically, Bath will see a 2.52% increase, Arrowsic will see a 3.25% increase and Woolwich will see a 2.48% increase.

Phippsburg will see a 0.14% decrease in taxes.

According to RSU 1 business manager Debra Clark, for a home valued at $200,000, the tax hike from the school budget alone will be $41.32 in Arrowsic, $15.74 in Phippsburg and $9.74 in Woolwich. Bath will see a $10.62 reduction.

The new spending plan is up 12.78% over current spending, which Superintendent Patrick Manuel said is due to the first principal payment on the local share of the new Morse High School and Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, which is now under construction. Without the bond payment, the increase would have been just 3.11%.

Salaries and benefits, accounting for nearly 60% of the budget, are also increasing 3.94% to reach $22.8 million.

RSU 1 initially proposed a $38.3 million budget, reflecting a 13% spending hike, but the district’s financial board revisited the budget and made $88,928 in cuts at its May 18 meeting, reducing the proposed tax increase to 2.1% to be mindful of the economic strains the coronavirus pandemic created for taxpayers.

Manuel said the board saved $71,000 in employee benefits because the district budgeted for a 7% health insurance hike, but the rate ended up being flat. The district also removed additional central office support, saving the district another $11,500.

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