The West Bath school board approved a proposed $3.96 million budget Wednesday that, if approved by voters, will carry a flat tax rate.

The current property tax rate is $10.50 per $1,000 of valuation, according to the town website. This means a West Bath home valued at $200,000 carries a $2,100 annual tax bill.

Spending is up by $59,909, or 1.54%, mostly driven by a $55,761 increase in regular instruction tuition and a $51,597 rise in special education instruction.

Principal Emily Thompson said those estimates are, in part, “based on who we have enrolled for next year,” as well as the rising cost of labor.

Thompson said there are no changes in the number of teachers at the school, however one teacher was moved from a part-time regular instruction and part-time special education position to a full-time special education teacher. They experienced a subsequent salary increase, reflected in the special education instruction budget.

Those increases are offset by a $29,366 drop in regular instruction and a $16,000 decrease in special education tuition. The board also used $266,847 in carryover funds balance to reduce the local contribution to $3,434,748.


Costs for other instruction, food service and transportation all remained flat.

“It’s a 1.54% increase in a pandemic when we’re able to have our students in school five days a week,” said Chairman Keith Hinds. “There’s no fat in this budget.” 

To further reduce the burden on taxpayers, the board voted to remove $16,000 from the budget that would’ve paid for a new unit ventilator system and drop their $3,000 board stipend to help trim the budget.

“We were able to do a fair bit of capital (improvements) this year with COVID-19 funds, so we felt like it was safe to pause that given the economic uncertainty that lies ahead for next year,” said Hinds.

The school budget will go before voters in a referendum vote on June 8.

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