Even after receiving an increase in state subsidy, Waterville schools are cutting the proposed budget further.

The Waterville Board of Education is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Monday in the superintendent’s conference room at 25 Messalonskee Ave. to consider the final draft of the latest version of the 2017-2018 budget, which includes a total $771,563 in cuts from the original proposed budget of $22.4 million.

The latest proposal of $21.6 million represents an increase of 2 percent from last year’s total.

The school budget was cut twice as the board waited for the Legislature to pass a state budget. It also decreased after the district received an unexpected insurance savings of about $100,000.

Gov. Paul LePage’s original budget would have left Waterville with a revenue loss of $400,000.

After a dramatic battle in the Legislature that resulted in a three-day state government shutdown, a state budget was approved that put an additional $162 million toward public education. Instead of taking a loss, Waterville received $580,000 more than it did last year, an increase of 4.6 percent.

“I was hoping for more, but I’ll take it,” superintendent Eric Haley said Thursday. While school funding went up, money for the 4-year-old program at Educare Central Maine, which uses the district as a pass-through, decreased by 13 percent.

The district also is looking at other ways to curb expenses. After the insurance savings, the administration is proposing another $234,000 in cuts.

The cuts include a reduction in the projected salary increase for everyone — teachers, staff and administrators — in the district. Haley originally budgeted for 3 percent but brought it down to 2 percent. Negotiations, however, are still ongoing.

A number of teachers also are leaving the district or retiring, so Haley has budgeted to replace them with a “master’s five” level teacher, meaning they have a master’s degree and five years of experience, which would save money in all cases.

While the board looks for the best staff to hire in all cases, Haley said, candidates with more experience or a higher degree usually won’t take the package he’s able to give them. For most of those teachers, he said, taking such a job would result in a pay cut.

The board expects to vote Monday on whether to accept the cuts.

In total, the district is asking for about $300,000 more in taxes this year than last, which is an increase of 4.4 percent. Last year, the school asked for 4.4 percent less in taxes by using surplus money.

This year’s increase brings the local tax appropriation to just below the 2015-2016 level.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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