AUGUSTA — The Augusta Board of Education has unanimously approved a proposed $35.5 million budget for the 2022-23 academic year that officials said will not require the city spend more than this year, despite a 6.47% increase.

Board members said they worked closely with school administrators to determine the needs of staff members and facilities, and held weekly budget workshops to hear presentations by principals, building administrators, the special education director, the Capital Area Technical Center and others.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday on the budget’s 16 warrant articles. The spending plan next goes to the Augusta City Council, which is to consider it with the proposed city budget.

“It’s great to see we were able to approve a budget that won’t increase costs for the city,” said board Chair Amanda Olson. “It’s huge, with all of the other stuff going on.”

Part of the fund balance — $1 million — is from money the district received last year after the budget was approved, when Gov. Janet Mills gave additional funding to schools across the state. Since the district received the money after city voters approved the 2021-22 budget, the additional money was sent to the fund balance.

By carrying over funds, school officials expect to ask the city for the same amount — $13,758,179 — for 2022-23 as they requested for 2021-22. Specifically, $2 million in carryover funds is expected to cover the spending increase for the coming school year.

Advertisement

“The budget is taking $2 million out of the fund balance and using it to hold down what we are asking for in taxation,” Superintendent James Anastasio said at the March 14 Board of Education budget workshop meeting.

The Augusta School District’s budget covers prekindergarten through 12th grade, the Capital Area Technical Center and adult education costs. As with most school budgets across Maine, inflation and high health insurance premiums are fueling local spending hikes.

In Augusta, the budget proposed for prekindergarten through 12th grade education is $32,127,218, an increase of $2,051,163, or 6.82%, from this year.

For the Capital Area Technical Center, the proposed budget is $2,676,425, up $112,154, or 4.37%.

Spending on adult education, meantime, is proposed at $243,797, up $6,493, or 2.77%.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.