The Five Town Community School District board on April 3 approved an $11,419,027 budget to operate Camden Hills Regional High School for the upcoming year — an overall increase of $240,701, or 2.15 percent, when compared to last year's budget. The increase to the taxpayer is $262,997 or 2.81 percent.

The largest increase in the budget is for administration costs, which includes both system and school administration. The increase of 5.24 percent amounts to $39,853. Operations and Maintenance saw an increase of $47,679, or 4 percent, and the transportation line increased $11,551, or 3 percent. Debt services and other expenditures decreased by $41,479.

“I think that so much of the budget is outside of our control as far as expenditures go, the Maine State retirement has a large part to do with that.” said Superintendent Elaine Nutter, referring to the governor's proposed plan for school districts to fund teacher retirement funds going forward.” If we were able to remove that part from the equation the taxpayers would see a much smaller budget and would be very happy with it.”

The reduction in state dollars to the district masks the hard work that administration, the school board and budget committee have done to bring the budget to within reason, she said.

“What clearly has happened when you look over time with the reduction in state subsidizes, the local taxpayers is picking up that share,” Nutter said.

Rockport’s share of the school budget will increase by $145,506 (a 4.29 percent difference), Camden by $86,148 (a 2.48 percent difference), Hope by $25,112 (a 4.86 percent difference) and Appleton by $36,486 (a 9.74 percent difference). Lincolnville's portion decreased by $30,255 (a decrease of 1.91 percent).

Budget cuts approved by the school board to offset the increase include CSD supplies at $30,130; Horizons tutoring, $400; Horizon contract services, $200; Information Technology hardware, $46,591 and software, $1,500; Operations and Maintenance supplies, $7,500; painting, $6,800; electricity, $10,000 and paving, $12,000. Also included were saving staff changes (leave requests), $28,000; administration salary reduction (1/2 time), $2,030; Americorps, $10,000; reduction to Capital Maintenance Repair fund, $35,000; 3/5 custodian position, $16,000 and a 1/2 time Librarian position, $37,000.

Several previously suggested budget cuts were saved from the chopping block, including the one-to-one IT program, a half-time Industrial Technology position, the summer marine course and freshman sports.

The Five Town CSD budget will be voted in each town June 11.

Courier Publications reporter Dwight Collins can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at dcollins@courierpublicationsllc.com.