The Augusta Board of Education meets Wednesday night over Zoom to vote on its proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Emily Duggan via Zoom

AUGUSTA — The Augusta Board of Education approved the proposed 2021-22 school budget at Wednesday night’s business meeting.

The proposed budget includes $32.64 million in spending — a less-than-1% increase from current spending — and is to be presented to the Augusta City Council at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Superintendent James Anastasio said the budget “is a good one” that “serves the school department and students well, and reflects what we believe are the desires of the community now.”

The proposed spending for prekindergarten-through-12th-grade instruction totals $30.08 million — a $19,603 increase, or 0.07%, to current spending.

The proposed operating budget that was presented Wednesday did not include costs for the Capital Area Technical Center or the Augusta Adult Education program. With those included, proposed spending is $33.43 million.

Proposed spending for CATC is $2.56 million, an $86,032 increase, or 3.47%.

Adult education is proposed to increase by $10,362, or 1.33%, to $787,289.

Combining the proposed K-12 instruction, CATC and adult education expenditures, the proposed budget would reflect a 0.35% increase in spending for the 2021-22 school year.

The Board of Education has requested the city spend $11,529,708 on regular instruction and $5,183,784 on special education — the two highest cost areas.

The board recommended the city raise $12.52 million in taxes, and appropriate $26.83 million to fund Augusta’s schools next year.

The proposed budget reflects spending decreases at Farrington Elementary School, Sylvio Gilbert Elementary, Lincoln Elementary School and Cony High School.

Board member Martha Witham asked why Cony Middle School has been budgeted for an increase, while spending at the high school would decrease. The proposed budget includes a $134,280 increase for the middle school and a $54,826 decrease for the high school.

Kathy Casparius, business manager for Augusta Schools, said the increase is likely related to personnel. There are more foreign language and physical education teachers, for example, at the middle school.

“It happens every year,” Casparius said, “and is nothing unusual.”


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