Residents from the towns in Somerville-based Regional School Unit 12 are meeting Tuesday at Chelsea Elementary School to vote on a proposed budget that is about 3 percent greater than the budget approved last year.

Even though the proposed $20.35 million budget is only about $620,000 more than the budget voters approved last year, the amounts the seven towns would owe vary more dramatically because a new cost-sharing formula approved three years ago is still being phased in.

The budget meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Chelsea school. If approved, the budget will go to a referendum vote June 9.

Ray Bates, chairman of Windsor Board of Selectmen, the town with the largest expected increase, said he thinks it’s futile to fight the budget because the district wouldn’t change it and voters will approve it regardless.

“It is what it is, I guess,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. We can go and argue with them at the open meeting (Tuesday).”

Suggestions to change the school budget typically are overlooked, Bates said.

Windsor’s contribution would increase by nearly $200,000, to more than $2 million, if the budget is approved.

As a result of the funding formula change approved by all towns in 2012, Somerville’s contribution would increase 11.5 percent if the proposed budget is approved, Windsor’s share would increase 11.1 percent and Palermo’s share would increase 8.4 percent. Whitefield and Chelsea’s shares would increase around 3 percent, Alna’s share would drop by less than 1 percent and Westport Island’s share will drop around 14 percent.

The towns with the largest actual increases in their expected bills — Windsor and Palermo — both tried to withdraw from the district, but residents in the towns rejected withdrawing in referendum votes last November.

“Perhaps some people will regret their vote for staying in the RSU after seeing this year’s budget, but it’s too late now,” said Bates, a withdrawal supporter.

However, Windsor probably would have paid $377,000 more in the first year if it had left, according to projections at the time.

Howard Tuttle, superintendent of the school district, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Wiscasset, which has the district’s high school, voted to withdraw from the district in 2013, the first time a school withdrawal has left a district without a high school. However, Wiscasset agreed to accept RSU 12 students at its high school for the next 10 years as part of the withdrawal agreement.

In the budget last year, the first year without Wiscasset, the amount required from district taxpayers declined slightly, but this year the local share is proposed to increase by 3.8 percent, to $10.3 million.

The largest overall cost increases would be in total tuition and staff salaries and health insurance, which all would increase by a combined $539,000 from last year.

Even though the state subsidy the district expects to receive increased by $379,000, the district is projecting it will receive less than expected because the percentage of local contribution required by the state is also expected to rise.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig


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