High school budget vote July 7: Spending to total $11.3M

BAR HARBOR — The annual meeting at which registered voters in the four Mount Desert Island towns are asked to approve the MDI High School budget for the coming year will be held next Tuesday, July 7at 6 p.m. 

The budget meeting was originally scheduled for April 1, but the coronavirus intervened. 

The format of the meeting will be the same as usual, but the location will be different: in the rear parking lot at the high school near the new storage building. 

“We plan to set up chairs…spaced appropriately so that it can be an in-person event,” Principal Matt Haney said. “If the crowd grows to over 50, we’ll make adjustments at that time to be sure that we stay in accordance with all of the executive orders and regulations.” 

Typically, only a handful of people who are not affiliated with the high school or the school system in some way attend the annual budget meeting. 

The budget that the high school board has approved totals $11.31 million. That is an increase of 4.14 percent over the budget for the year that just ended. 

Salaries and health insurance benefits for teachers and other high school staff amount to $7.93 million, or 70 percent of the total budget that will be voted on July 7. 

The total assessment that the four MDI towns will pay is up 4.74 percent to $8.47 million. The percentage of that amount that each town pays is based on a combination of the number of high school students from each town and each town’s taxable property valuation, with the property valuation carrying twice as much weight. 

For 2020-2021, Bar Harbor property owners will pay 39.43 percent of the total high school assessment; Mount Desert will pay 35.68 percent; Southwest Harbor 12.67 percent and Tremont 12.22 percent. 

About 25 percent of the high school’s approximately 535 students live off MDI, either on the outer islands or in Trenton, Lamoine and Hancock. Those towns pay tuition for their students to attend MDI High School. For the coming year, tuition payments are expected to total $1.65 million. 

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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