Voters in Bath, Phippsburg, Arrowsic and Woolwich approved Regional School Unit 1’s proposed $38.9 million spending plan for 2021-2022 in Tuesday’s election.

The new budget is $665,553, amounting to an increase of 1.74%. As a result, Bath residents will see a 1.32% tax increase, Arrowsic will see a 4.87% increase, Woolwich will see a 1% increase and Phippsburg will see a 4.53% increase.

The major drivers of the new budget include a $469,471, or 3.96%, increase in regular instruction across the district, which covers staff salaries and benefits as well as the cost of supplies. The increase also funds a new sixth grade science teacher at Bath Middle School and a gifted and talented teaching position increasing to full-time, according to budget documents available on the school district’s website.

The district also noted a $178,251, 11.53%, rise in career and technical education, but the state has provided the necessary revenue to support this increase, according to budget documents. The rise in cost stems from the new cosmetology program at the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center and a new educational technician in the school’s culinary arts program.

School Board Chairman Stephen August told The Times Record in April administrators tried to keep the proposed budget “very lean” because they recognize “it has been a difficult year for everyone” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the administration and board have been very mindful of the tax burden on the communities while still supporting our educational programs,” said August.

Those budget increases are partially offset by a $204,976, or 2.81%, decrease in debt service costs and a $23,196 drop in the maintenance and operations budget compared to last year’s spending.

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