BAR HARBOR — A 3 percent increase in the budget for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System’s central office and shared services has been proposed by Superintendent Howard Colter for next year.
But he has identified potential add-ons, mostly for information technology, that could boost spending by 7.8 percent.
The proposed 2015-2016 base budget of just under $1.55 million is about $45,000 higher than the budget for the current year. Most of the additional spending would be for cost-of-living raises and higher health insurance costs.
In addition to the base budget, Colter has asked the MDIRSS board to consider increased funding for the Information Technology Department primarily to extend the work week for IT staff members who currently are part time. IT Coordinator Joshua Young has said the additional hours are needed to meet the needs of the district’s nine schools. Those changes could increase the budget by as much as $55,000.
Colter also has suggested adding $10,000 to the budget for expenses related to the search for his successor as superintendent. He has said he plans to retire at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. He has listed advertising, travel and consultants’ fees as possible search-related expenses.
If the school board were to approve the highest of the spending options that Colter has put forward, next year’s budget would increase by more than $113,000 to nearly $1.62 million. The MDISS budget for the current year is just over $1.5 million. But it is anticipated that actual spending will be slightly less than that at around $1.48 million.
The MDIRSS budget includes salary and benefits for the superintendent and other central office administrators and staff including those in business management and bookkeeping, IT, special education and other special services.
The school board is to vote on next year’s budget at its Dec. 15 meeting.
The eight towns in the school system share the cost of operating the central office. Their allocations are based on population, so Frenchboro pays about 1 percent of the budget, while Bar Harbor is directly responsible for about 23 percent. Just under 29 percent of the central office budget is paid by MDI High School, which, in turn, is funded by the four MDI towns.