SKOWHEGAN — Residents of the six towns of School Administrative District 54 appeared well on the way to approving the district budget Tuesday.

The tally, with the town of Cornville not reporting, was 1,868 “Yes” votes and 695 “No” votes on the district’s nearly $35.7 million budget for the coming year in referendum voting Tuesday.

Contained in this year’s proposed budget are more than $560,000 in cuts made to arrive at a final spending package that is up 2.56 percent over last year’s budget, Superintendent Brent Colbry said. Cuts include the elimination of a kindergarten teacher at Mill Stream Elementary School in Norridgewock or North Elementary School in Skowhegan, depending on enrollment numbers; postponing buying some new computers and hardware; and postponing purchases of equipment for the maintenance department. Cuts also were made in contracted services for busing and debt service, according to Colbry.

“It’s up almost exclusively in all salaries and insurance,” Colbry said, noting that the cuts made in other areas were made to reduce the effect on local appropriations.

He said salaries are up about $451,000, or about 2.4 percent, and health insurance premiums have increased 7.54 percent, or about $463,900.

Colbry said the tax rate required by law in order to get state aid to education has increased in the new budget, with the district raising an additional $385,475 in local taxes this year to be eligible for state aid.

He said the overall numbers are up, but the local effect is down less than 1 percent.

“The overall budget is up 2.56 percent. We have applied available new state subsidy of $694,586 to cover some of these costs and made cuts of nearly $300,000 in the budget,” Colbry said. “Together that covered the increase and allowed for a reduction in the local assessment.

“It’s pretty bland, really. It’s a pretty good-news story. The board was able to keep all the services, give people a decent raise and pay their health insurance and cut taxes.”

SAD 54 is projected to receive about $19.8 million in state aid in the coming year, and local appropriations come in at $14,204,601, which is $95,944 less than the current year.

The total proposed budget is $35,697,583.

Budget highlights include:

• Regular instruction — $12,719,274.

• Special education — $8,155,620.

• Career and technical education — $1,541,712.

• Student and staff support — $2,779,357.

• System administration — $698,098.

• School administration — $1,646,701.

• Transportation and buses — $2,094,769.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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