Residents in School Administrative District 74 gave preliminary approval to a proposed $9.9 million school budget for 2016-2017 Thursday night.

The $9,967,044 budget includes the reinstatement of a full-time principal at Carrabec High School along with the elimination of an assistant principal position; and about $52,000 in unanticipated health insurance costs resulting from the closure of Madison Paper Industries, according to Superintendent Ken Coville.

The district serves residents in Anson, Embden, New Portland and Solon. About 50 people attended Thursday’s budget meeting and each item in the budget warrant was approved, Coville said.

The budget is an increase of about 6 percent from the 2015-2016 budget of $9,427,967 and will now be voted on at a referendum May 10.

Major cost increases in the budget include the first $250,000 bond payment that the district owes on renovations at Carrabec High School as well as about $52,000 in unanticipated health insurance costs that resulted from the recent closure of the Madison Paper Industries mill in Madison.

The closure of the mill announced last month means that several employees in the district who were previously able to get health insurance through their spouses at the mill are now looking for coverage from the district, Coville said.

“It’s much more then what we’re normally used to but it’s a factor that’s outside our control,” he said.

Despite the increases, the amount of money to be raised by taxpayers locally is only up $103,000 and Coville said there are no significant cuts to educational programs or services. The change in administration at Carrabec High School is related to the retirement of Principal Regina Campbell, who will retire at the end of the school year. The current Assistant Principal, Tim Richards, will take over as principal and the assistant principal position will not be filled, Coville said.

During an administrative restructuring in the last budget season, the hours for the principal at Carrabec High School were reduced from full-time to part-time, but Coville said Friday that the district has decided to reinstate a full-time principal.

“The decision was made that a full-time principal with no assistant principal would be more effective then trying to move forward with a part-time principal,” he said. The change will save the district about $20,000.

Other savings include a $260,000 increase in Medicare reimbursements to the school district that largely stem from a new program for special education and therapy services that are eligible for the reimbursements.

The district also expanded it’s preschool program this year with federal funding that has resulted in an $80,000 cost savings in the budget, Coville said.

“I think we’ve been able to preserve the educational programs while keeping the impact to local taxpayers as low as possible,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm