BAR HARBOR — A budget of just under $9.79 million for Mount Desert Island High School next year was approved by the school board Monday night.
Registered voters in the four MDI towns will have an opportunity to vote on the budget at the school’s annual meeting April 1.
On paper, the budget for next fiscal year is 4.59 percent higher than the current year’s budget. But Principal Matt Haney said that number is misleading. He explained that $80,000 for the purchase of a new bus will come from a reserve account that was funded previously, so it will not require additional taxation.
“Without the bus purchase, the budget increase is only a little more than 3.5 percent,” Haney said.
Most of that increase will be for salaries and benefits. However, teacher salaries have not been finalized; the teachers’ union and a committee of the school board are still in negotiations. And, while the school has estimated a 10 percent increase in health insurance costs, Anthem Blue Cross has not yet said how much premiums actually will be going up. So, school officials are hoping the budget ultimately can be revised downward.
The four MDI towns, which provide most of the funding for the high school, will see their assessments rise by varying amounts next year. Based on the budget as it stands now, residents of Tremont will see their taxes increase by $15.99 per $100,000 of property valuation. The increase will be $11.63 for taxpayers in Bar Harbor, $4.01 in Southwest Harbor and $3.93 in Mount Desert.
Bar Harbor will continue to pay the largest share of the island-wide assessment for the high school, 37.53 percent. Mount Desert will be responsible for 35.07 percent; Southwest Harbor, 14.4 percent; and Tremont, 13 percent.
Assessments are based on a formula that includes each town’s total property valuation and the number of students it sends to the high school.