BAR HARBOR — A budget of $1.9 million for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System’s central office for 2019-2020 was adopted unanimously by the system’s board Monday night.
That is a 3.76 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
Personnel costs account for the bulk of the budget and the year-to-year increase.
Each of the central office administrators will receive a salary increase of 3.5 percent, except for Superintendent Marc Gousse, who is getting a three-percent raise. His salary will be $147,331.
Two other administrators will make more than $100,000 next year. Julie Meltzer, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, will be paid $104,375. Melissa Beckwith, director of special services, will have a salary of $100,880.
Along with approving salaries for the school system’s top administrators, the school board voted to extend Gousse’s contract through June 2024 and the contracts of Meltzer, Beckwith and Business Manager Nancy Thurlow through June 2023. Her salary next year will be $89,546.
The central office support staff will see a salary increase next year of five percent, which matches the raise that support staff at Conners Emerson School in Bar Harbor will receive next year. That raise is included in a collective bargaining agreement that the Bar Harbor School Committee reached with the Conners Emerson support staff.
Conners Emerson is the only school in the district whose support staff has a collective bargaining agreement.
“Overall, I think it’s pretty much minimal increases,” Thurlow said of the 2019-2020 budget.
At the request of Meltzer and Gousse, the school board agreed to increase from 20 percent of full time to 30 percent the job of Kathy Gage as the school system’s English language learning (ELL) coordinator, with a salary of $15,384.
She currently helps provide support for 10 students in the school system who are from other countries and whose first language isn’t English. She consults with teachers, provides them with materials, helps them develop plans for their ELL students and conducts the federally-required testing.
“This is putting a stress on our system, which I think we could accommodate okay if we had this little bit of extra,” Meltzer said of the requested increase in the ELL coordinator’s time. “If we had an influx of ELLs, we have no flex at all right now. I think it’s a very real issue.”
Gousse said the number of ELL students in the system could easily double in the next few years.
To date, nearly all of the ELL students in the school system have been enrolled at Conners Emerson and Mount Desert Elementary, Meltzer said.
The eight towns with schools in the MDI Regional School System pay a share of the central office budget, as does MDI High School, which is funded largely by the four MDI towns.
Next year, as usual, the high school’s assessment will be the largest. The high school will pay $465,975, or 28.75 percent of the total assessment of $1.62 million.
Bar Harbor will be assessed $354,682, which is 21.88 percent of the total. Mount Desert is next at $201,944 (12.46 percent), followed by Trenton at $173,142 (10.68 percent), Southwest Harbor at $165,931(10.24 percent), Tremont at $151,018 (9.32 percent), Swan’s Island at $61,067 (3.77 percent), Cranberry Isles at $32,012 (1.97 percent) and Frenchboro at $15,086 (0.93 percent).
Thurlow said each town’s assessment is based on its school’s “staff size, budget size and enrollment size.”
In addition to the town assessments, the revenue projection for the central office includes $172,133 in reimbursements from the individual schools for occupational therapy services for students and a $111,041 carryover from the current budget year.
Next month, registered voters in the eight MDIRSS towns will have an opportunity to vote on the school system’s central office budget for 2019-2020. That vote will be held at the school system board’s annual budget meeting, set for Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the MDI High School library.