YARMOUTH —  Yarmouth Superintendent of Schools Andrew Dolloff presented a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes an increase of 7.8% over current spending.

The 2021 school budget is just under $29 million, and the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 – which runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 – is about $31 million, an addition of around $2.3 million.

If approved, the spending plan would result in an increase of 4.97% for local taxpayers over the current tax rate of $19.60, or just less than $1. This would result in an additional $170 per year for a home valued at $100,000, or $510 for a $300,000 home.

Dolloff’ presented information at a Jan. 25 workshop that showed the largest part of the proposed budget is salaries and benefits, which make up 45% of the total. Instructional support is now budgeted at just over $4 million, an increase of $250,796 or 6.6% over current spending would be realized if the proposal passes muster.

Under instructional support, a new director of teaching and learning is being touted to help with curriculum oversight, which would add $162,500.

Requests from the transportation, technology and school operations and maintenance departments have also contributed to the increase.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Andrew Dolloff at the Feb. 1 budget workshop.

According to school administrators, state aid is expected to help offset the costs with a 12.4% increase of $643,267, anticipated to reach $5,816,558 in 2022. These numbers are not final, however, as Gov. Janet Mills’ proposed budget is still to be approved.

At a Feb. 1 workshop, Bruce Rudolph, director of Business Services, pointed out some of the immediate problems facing the transportation department.
The overall cost for student transportation is proposed to increase from around $1.05 million to $1.15 million for FY 2022, a 9.4% increase driven by the need to replace one bus along with additional hours for three bus drivers, and sharing the cost of a mechanic with the town.
“We continue to struggle to attract and retain seasonal bus drivers,” Rudolph said.
“We are not going to have enough drivers to drive the schedule we have right now,” he added, referring to mid-February when three of the 13 positions will become vacant. “We’re working on a solution, but we’re at the point now where we’re going to have to consider some serious changes as to how we’re going to make this work.” 
Rudolph proposed upgrading three of the five-hour positions to seven-hour guaranteed positions, hoping to make them more attractive to experienced drivers, the cost of which is estimated at $31,600. 
Facilities operations and maintenance will be increasing by 12.8% from $2,113,528 to $2,384,371, including adding four custodians to the middle school and increased spending on cleaning supplies due to the pandemic.
Notable adjustments in the technology department are the replacement of laptops for students and staff in grades 7-12, as well as the addition of an electronic enrollment program, responsible for a 9.1% increase in technology spending from $558,648 to $609,295.

The budget will next be discussed next at the Thursday, Feb. 11 school committee meeting.

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