The $27.2 million proposed school budget for Regional School Unit 13, if approved, will mean a 3.35 percent increase ($748,193) in local property taxes, according to district Business Manager Scott Vaitones.

The budget goes to the school board May 2 in a meeting starting 6 p.m. at the McLain School. Residents will vote on the budget during a regional meeting Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m. at Oceanside High School East in Rockland and will ratify the meeting's budget at the polls June 11.

When the budget was presented to the board April 1, the plan included cutting 14 positions. Most of those cuts remain in place. Vaitones said one half of a resource room position for special education in St. George has been put back in the budget since then.

Overall, the proposed school budget is up about 3 percent from the previous budget.

The increase in property taxes will be broken up among the district towns as follows:

  • Rockland, $360,000
  • Thomaston, $80,800
  • Owls Head, $170,000
  • Cushing, $86,500
  • South Thomaston, $50,000
  • St. George, $965

Vaitones said the district is in the fourth year of a five-year transition from the funding formulas that were used by School Administrative Districts 5 and 50. SAD 5 used a 100 percent valuation-based funding formula and SAD 50 based its formula 50 percent on valuation and 50 percent on number of pupils. Eventually, the district as a whole will base its formula 75 percent on valuation and 25 percent on the number of students.

So, for example, St. George pays less toward the tax increase because it has fewer students than other communities such as Rockland.

Another major factor in the proposed budget is the $113,000 in school safety improvements. The improvements, which mostly involve installing new equipment including surveillance cameras, will be paid for as a lease to purchase over four years, Vaitones said.

Courier Publications News Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com or 594-4401, ext. 122.