BAR HARBOR — Lower than expected health insurance costs for several schools in the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) means they can reduce their budgets for the coming year.
All of the schools had budgeted for a 10 percent hike in Blue Cross Blue Shield premiums. But MDIRSS officials were notified earlier this month that premiums will go up only 5 percent for all but two of the schools. The rate increase will be 9.5 percent for both Conners Emerson School in Bar Harbor and MDI High School. The higher rate for those two schools is due to their insurance claims history.
School officials have calculated that, next year, Mount Desert Elementary will be paying about $27,000 less for health insurance coverage than the School Committee had budgeted. The savings will be roughly $21,000 for Pemetic Elementary in Southwest Harbor, $18,000 for Tremont Consolidated School and $12,000 for Trenton Elementary.
The school committees in all four towns have already voted to lower their proposed budgets by the amount to be saved on health insurance.
Residents of each town will vote on their municipal and school budgets at their annual town meetings this spring.