Gardiner-based Regional School Unit 11 is holding a meeting Tuesday for residents to decide whether to send a proposed budget that would raise the four communities’ share by $480,000 to a referendum vote next month.

The proposed $22.8 million budget is less than half a percent higher than what voters approved last year, but an expected $500,000 drop in state aid contributed to proposed increases of around 5 percent in each community, leading to expected tax increases, based on current tax rates, between $48 and $60 for $100,000 of assessed value in the communities.

Tuesday’s regional budget meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Gardiner Area High School gymnasium. Whatever budget is approved at the meeting will go to a June 9 referendum vote in the four communities: Gardiner, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner.

The proposed $22.8 million budget is actually 1.6 percent, or $348,000, higher than the current budget, but the total includes $253,000 in energy efficiency grant funds that don’t impact what taxpayers will owe. Excluding the budget neutral grant, the proposed budget is 0.42 percent higher than this year’s budget.

But the amount owed by taxpayers in the district will increase by more than $480,000 if the budget is approved. That’s in part because the state increased the amount local districts are required to raise in order to receive the state subsidy and shifted $81,000 in additional teacher retirement system costs to the district, said Andrea Disch, business manager for the district.

Without those changes by the state, the increase for local taxpayers would only be around $64,000, Disch said.


The largest cost increase in the proposed budget comes from salaries, which will increase by an average of 2 percent, totaling $270,000. That increase is offset by an equal decrease in what the district has to pay for health insurance.

The school board is also proposing to cut around $265,000 from maintenance and facilities.

Disch told the Kennebec Journal last month that maintenance is one of the areas the district looks to when needing to make cuts.

“There aren’t a lot of places when we’re charged with cutting a lot of money other than personnel,” Disch said, “and at this point, we have no additional personnel to cut.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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