READFIELD — Voters from the four towns comprising Regional School Unit 38, the Maranacook Area Schools gave the green light to a proposed $17.2 million budget at the district’s Annual Budget Meeting Wednesday.

Now the budget for the 2017-18 school year — fiscal 2018 — will be on the ballot in a district-wide budget validation referendum at the individual towns on June 13.

The moderator, David Spencer, noted that the budget is not adopted until it passes at referendum

On Wednesday, the warrant articles were dealt with swiftly at Maranacook Community High School. The meeting ended by 8:15 p.m. and most votes were unanimous.

The school board had approved the proposed budget at its April 12 session. The budget proposed for the 2017-18 school year is almost $725,000 higher than the current year’s.

The warrant articles for the annual meeting are listed on the district’s website in its annual report, and Terri Watson, school board chairman, provided a history of the process used to prepare the budget.

“The big relief we got was that the cost of health care didn’t go up at all, so that was fortuitious,” Watson said as part of that presentation.

The proposed budget requires the four towns in the district to contribute a total of just over $13 million.

That amount breaks down as $4 million from Manchester, $3.1 million from Mount Vernon, $3.6 million from Readfield and almost $2.2 million from Wayne.

The proposed budget shows that all the towns will be paying more than the current year because the local dollars needed to support the budget are 6.84 percent higher.

Watson noted that the increase might be less if the state comes through with a higher subsidy figure as expected. On Wednesday, she said that figure is likely not going to be available until June.

The final state subsidy numbers should be in well before the towns set their property tax rate for the year, so that could be adjusted accordingly.

One of the warrant articles adopted “authorizes the school board to use the entire additional state subsidy to reduce local assessments.”

That option was not available in previous years, Watson said.

Geoff Herman, of Mount Vernon, asked about that at the annual meeting, saying he wanted to know what the board would do since the state subsidy is likely to come in much higher than budgeted. Watson praised Herman for his work to work to try to get the state to pay 55 percent of the cost of education. Herman is director of the state and federal relations for the Maine Municipal Association.

Another resident questioned a $437,758 expenditure for co-curricular, extracurricular activities and summer instruction. She asked why Maranacook boys pay to play lacrosse at Kents Hill School fields while girls’ lacrosse plays on Maranacook fields with no fee. A school board member said the boys are a varsity team which needs a regulation field; the girls’ team in junior varsity, so it does not.

The district has 574 children in elementary schools, 280 at Maranacook Middle School, and 366 at Maranacook High School, according to figures from January of this year.

School Superintendent Donna Wolfrom said that the property valuations of the towns are on the rise and that 11 fewer students are enrolled this year.

Wolfrom said the district is adding a foreign language teacher to help meet a state requirement that students demonstrate proficiency in a second language in order to graduate. That goes into effect beginning with the 2021 graduates.

The individual town clerks registered 10 Manchester voters, 13 from Mount Vernon, 32 from Readfield and six from Wayne although several people came in later. The one written vote on raising additional local funds was adopted 65-5.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams