MADISON — Voters Monday night gave initial approval to a $10.2 million school budget, a number that is up less than 1% from the current budget and includes no increase in cost to local taxpayers.

About 30 people in School Administrative District 59 gathered at Madison Junior High School to vote on 19 budget articles town meeting-style on Monday.

Each item passed with no changes, and the budget will now be considered for final approval in a May 14 referendum.

The $10,212,036 budget includes the addition of a new teaching position at Madison Elementary School and $71,282 in new funding for an alternative education teacher and education technician.

The budget also includes a 2% raise for administrative assistants and a 6.85% increase in health insurance costs.

An increase in state funding allowed the district to decrease the amount of money to be raised by local taxpayers in 2019-2020 by $138,133.

The amount of state funding to be received is $4.37 million, up from $4.15 million.

Voters also approved the formation of a Western Maine Regional Service Center, a collaborative group of nine school districts that would work together on things like professional development, training for bus drivers, gifted and talented programs and other things.

The cost to join the group would be $778 on top of $1,886 the district already pays to be a part of the Western Maine Education Collaborative. If approved by the Department of Education, the WMRSC would take over many of the same duties with the addition of an executive director to be paid by the DOE.

The Madison district would also receive an additional $35,625 in state subsidies to join the group, according to Superintendent Bonnie Levesque.

“To me, it’s a no-lose situation to be a member of this and receive additional revenue from it,” she said. If approved, the WMRSC would begin operation in July 2020.

The budget validation referendum is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 14 at the Madison Town Office.

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