WINSLOW — The school district’s budget is slated to rise again next fiscal year, though town officials say residents will not see an increase in their tax bills.

Winslow School Superintendent Peter Thiboutot Morning Sentinel file

Winslow schools’ budget will be just over $20 million, increasing roughly 7% from this year, Superintendent Peter Thiboutot said at a school board meeting Monday night.

“We bring you a budget that is based on our needs, based on our goals, based on our data,” Thiboutot said. “Strong schools make strong communities. You start eroding your school district, you start eroding your community.”

The district oversees roughly 1,000 students between Winslow’s elementary, junior high and high schools.

The increase was largely prompted by inflation and the rising costs of everything from gas to labor, according to Thiboutot. About 77% of this year’s budget consists of staff salaries and benefits, he said, which is on par with most other districts in the area.

Many districts around central Maine have been facing unprecedented budget increases this year as federal COVID-era funds expire. Many have eliminated teaching positions to cut costs, while others have opted to raise tax bills nearly 10%.


Winslow schools remained largely unaffected by those problems, officials say.

As other districts have cut as many as 20 education roles over budgetary woes, Winslow schools added four new positions to this year’s budget: A dean of students at the elementary school, a contracted student evaluator and two student support positions at the elementary and high school.

Schools across Maine have been facing an exacerbated need for support in the classroom as they work to help students make up the losses of the pandemic.

Winslow schools and many districts around the state have hired literacy coaches, interventionists, guidance counselors and others to address the greater need for both educational and behavioral support.

The student evaluator position and both of the student support roles are intended to assist students who would otherwise be referred to special education or left behind, Thiboutot said.

“They do psychological student evaluations because we have such a high number of students who get referred for services,” Thiboutot said of the student support and evaluator roles. “Each kid’s plan looks a little different based on what they need.”

Officials also said that the proposed budget will not increase residents’ taxes. Winslow’s municipal budget process this year was done with the school’s budget in mind and aimed to minimize its impact, Councilor Dale Macklin said at Monday’s meeting.

“This budget, as well as (the town’s) budget, fit in with no tax increase this year,” he said. “This is an increase in the budget, but I still consider it a minor increase on a $20 million budget.”

The district’s budget is not yet final and must be approved by voters during the June 11 primary election. Residents’ tax bills also will take county and municipal budgets into account.

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