ANSON — Residents in School Administrative District 74 voted on Thursday night to approve a $9.4 million school budget for 2015-2016 at the district budget meeting.

About 25 people attended the meeting at Carrabec High School and approved 16 line items in the budget. Before the budget can be adopted, it also will be subject to approval in a referendum on May 12. The district includes Anson, Embden, New Portland and Solon.

The proposed $9,427,967 budget represents an increase of $193,852, or about 2 percent, from the 2014-2015 budget. Superintendent Ken Coville said there were “areas of both increases and reductions” in the budget, the most significant of which was a $137,685 increase in cost for renovations to the high school.

The figure is part of a $2 million renovation project at the high school that voters approved and that will be paid for over the next 15 years with no interest because of a federally secured bond, Coville said. The project is scheduled to go out to bid this month and renovations will begin over the summer.

The amount of money to be raised by local taxpayers is $4,652,758, which is about $100,000 more than in the current year. The increase is related to the renovations. The amount of money to be raised from local taxes otherwise would have been about $35,000 less than in the current year, Coville said.

The district was able to save about $60,000 in charter school costs because of a proposed law that is expected to change the way charter schools are paid for, Coville said. In the past, school districts have been responsible for paying tuition for each student who attends a charter school, but the change would fund charter schools the same way as traditional schools — through the state.

The budget passed with little discussion from residents, although there were some questions. Other costs that were approved included $1.5 million for special education, $728,293 for transportation and buses, $35,766 for career and technical education. Four positions are being eliminated — two teaching positions and two education technician positions. The reductions were made as a savings measure related to declining student enrollment, and there were no layoffs, Coville said.

One resident asked whether the discussions the district is having with the town of Embden about its potential withdrawal from the district would affect the budget. If the town does leave the district, it would not have an effect until the 2016-2017 school year, Coville said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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