High school budget up slightly Town assessments are set to rise

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School spending would go up by 3.23 percent next year if no new items are added to the draft budget of nearly $11.7 million that Principal Matt Haney presented to the School Board last week.

Three additional items he is asking the board to consider would raise that increase by as much as $103,585 to 4.15 percent.

Those items include up to $45,000 to refinish the gym floor, $32,775 to move a part-time administrative support position to full time with health benefits, and an estimated $25,810 for a one-third teaching position to support Island Pathways, an alternative learning program.

Haney said the gym floor hasn’t been refinished since 2007.

“There are only so many times you can throw another coat of varnish on top of it before it starts falling apart, so we are due for that this year,” he said.

Despite the relatively small spending increase, even with the possible additional items, the amount that the four towns on the island are assessed could go up more than usual. In what Haney called a “worst case scenario,” the total assessment would increase by 10 percent with the base budget and 11.3 percent with the add-on items.

He said that would be due in part to an anticipated drop in carryover funds from this year to next.

“Over the last two years, there’s been a decrease in assessments to the towns, which is part of the reason there’s an increase this year, because we are anticipating a little bit less carryover,” he said.

Haney said the projected town assessments probably can be lowered once the state tells the school the amount of tuition it can charge for students who live outside the four MDI towns. Tuition students make up about 25 of the school’s enrollment.

Currently, the total anticipated tuition revenue for next year is $1.7 million, but that is based on the rate the state approved for the 2018-2019 budget year. The school has not yet been notified of the rate for the current year, but Haney expects it to be higher.

“That would increase our carryover [from this year to next] and also adjust the revenue for next year,” he said.

Of the 3.23 percent increase in the draft base budget that Haney presented to the school board, more than half — 1.94 percent — is for salaries and benefits.

The high school board is to review the budget at its Jan. 13 meeting and vote on it Feb. 10. Registered voters in the four MDI towns will be asked to approve the budget at a meeting at the high school April 1.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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