BAR HARBOR — The area’s public schools will be paying less for health insurance for teachers and staff next year than they initially had included in their projected budgets.
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield notified Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) officials last week that rates will go up no more than 5 percent for any school in the district. The schools had included a 10 percent rate hike in their budgets to make sure they were covered.
Given that the actual increase will be no more than half of that, the budget for MDI High School that voters approved at the school’s annual meeting last Wednesday is $50,879 less than had been projected.
The total high school budget is $9.68 million. Nearly half of that amount, $4.64 million, is for salaries.
“Regular instruction” expenses, including salaries and benefits, account for $3.68 million of the overall budget. Another $1.27 million is for special education, and $1.03 million is for student and staff support, which includes the library, guidance, health services, technology and instructional support.
About $1.1 million of the cost of operating the high school will be covered by tuition payments for students who live off of MDI. Towns including Trenton, Lamoine, Hancock, Cranberry Isles, Swans Island and Frenchboro pay tuition of $10,729 for each of their residents who choose to attend MDI High. Next year, the school expects to have 102 tuition students, which would be just under 20 percent of the total enrollment.
The four MDI towns, which provide the majority of funding for the high school, will see their high school assessments go up next year. Tremont property owners will experience the largest tax increase, $14.70 per $100,000 of property valuation. Tax increases for the other MDI towns will be $10.31 for Bar Harbor, $3.05 for Mount Desert and $2.66 for Southwest Harbor.
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.
Each town’s assessment is based on its total property valuation and its high school student enrollment. In calculating the assessments, property valuation carries twice as much weight as enrollment.