School system budget up a tad

BAR HARBOR — The budget of nearly $1.86 million for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) central office for next fiscal year is 1.19 percent higher than the current year’s budget.

The MDIRSS board approved the budget Dec. 18.

It includes an estimate of $25,000 in total salary increases for administrators, including Superintendent Marc Gousse, and other central office staff. Gousse said the exact amount of the increases would be based on the size of teacher salary increases that a committee of school board members and the teachers’ union currently are negotiating as part of a new three-year contract.

“Once the collective bargaining agreement with the teachers is settled, the board will decide a percentage increase for administrative contracts and support staff and others,” Gousse said. “So, the $25,000 in the ‘negotiated agreement’ line of the budget is a placeholder. It’s not necessarily what the increase will be.”

The school system’s three highest paid employees are Gousse, with a current salary of $138,578; Julie Meltzer, director of curriculum, assessment and instruction, at $97,699; and Melissa Beckwith, director of special services, at $94,428.

Partially offsetting the projected salary increases is the transfer of 80 percent of Social Worker Edith Dubois’s $55,511 salary from the central office budget to the Conners Emerson Elementary School budget. She already is spending the equivalent of four days a week at Conners Emerson, with the rest of her time spread out among the other schools in the district. But that change had not occurred when the current year’s budget was approved.

Gousse contract extended

When Gousse was hired as superintendent in 2015, he asked for and was given a five-year contract. The MDIRSS board, at its Dec. 18 meeting, voted to give him a five-year contract extension to 2022. Board member Caroline Pryor cast the only dissenting vote. She has noted that previous superintendents typically had three-year contracts and that the contracts the school system negotiates with the teachers’ union are for three years.

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]
Dick Broom

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