Region 10 Technical High School, which services Brunswick and nearby school districts, is looking at a spending increase of either 13% or 18%, driven largely by COVID-19 pandemic and a request for additional staff.

Superintendent Paul Perzanoski presented two budget scenarios Tuesday that saw the current $2.6 million budget increase by either $419,149 or $544,149.

In either scenario, increases are due to the school board’s decision to sign a five-year lease for a modular building that includes six classrooms. The building would provide enough space to safely distance students and staff, helping prevent the spread of COVID, allowing the school to fully reopen to in-person instruction next school year.

Students are currently at10ding Region 10 classes through a mix of in-person and remote learning.

The larger spending plan

Perzanoski said the larger, $3.56 million spending plan includes a $387,299 or 12.8% increase for expenses related to COVID-19. It includes $107,100 to lease the modular building, $125,000 to set up the classrooms and $32,000 for utilities for the portables.

The school had set aside $50,000 to construct a concrete pad on which to rest the modular building, Perzanoski said. The estimates for that work came much higher than anticipated at $141,000. That price is also reflected in the budget, Perzanoski said.

This spending plan would increase the money paid by sending school districts by $203,364 for Brunswick; $195,345 for Topsham-area Maine School Administrative District 75; and $132,408 for Freeport-based Regional School Unit 5.

The smaller spending plan

Perzanoski said the smaller, $3.44 million spending plan calls for using $125,000 from the capital fund account to set up the portable classrooms. The $419,149 increase still includes $262,299 in increases related to COVID-19.

Under this plan, the increases are $155,501 for Brunswick, $149,370 for MSAD 75 and $101,245 for RSU 5.

More staff

The spending plan also includes the costs of a full-time business manager at $130,000, which includes supplies in addition to salary and benefits related to the job. The school has been contracting with Brunswick School Department for these services for about $90,000 a year.

In addition, the spending plan calls for $47,495 for a custodian and $75,704 for a school nurse.

The nurse would serve the entire school, serving students and helping with the CNA program’s clinical work. It’s a three-quarter of a full-time position. The school has its own nurse for the first time this school year, paid for with federal funds that will end after this school year unless an additional year of funding is approved by Congress.

Region 10 serves Brunswick, Freeport and Mt. Ararat high schools as well as students from Harpswell Coastal Academy, Lisbon and some students who are homeschooled. Traditionally, most Region 10 students at10d a traditional high school for part of the day, but travel to at10d classes at Region 10.

Region 10’s programming includes many hands-on courses, including nursing, firefighting, culinary arts, automotive technology and building trades.

No money from the last round of federal COVID aid went to any of the state’s technical schools, Perzanoski said. However, he said Region 10 still could receive state aid and more likely, federal aid to help pay for costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Certainly, in both these scenarios, the increase to the districts would be certainly substantial but in looking at the new federal legislation that’s hopefully going to be passed this coming month, the things that schools can utilize that money for are exactly what we have listed here as far as COVID-related items,” Perzanoski said. “Our thought is that once we know what that money is, that (it will) decrease whatever those costs are so that the increase to each of the districts comes down substantially.”

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