Preliminary budgets for the 2018-2019 fiscal year in SAD 28 and the Five Town CSD were presented to members of each district's school board last week. SAD 28 includes Camden-Rockport Elementary School and Camden-Rockport Middle School. The Five Town CSD consists of Camden Hills Regional High School.

The total budget proposed for SAD 28 is approximately $15.7 million, which is an increase of $2.37 million, or 18 percent, from the previous year. The increase to taxpayers in Camden and Rockport is expected to be $2.1 million, or 18 percent.

The total budget desired by the Five Town CSD is approximately $12.6 million, reflecting a decrease of $86,000, or less than 1 percent, from the previous year. The expected increase to taxpayers in Camden, Rockport, Hope, Lincolnville and Appleton is $140,000, or 1.3 percent, as the result of a decrease in state subsidy in the amount of $310,000.

SAD 28

The largest itemized increase in the proposed SAD 28 budget is $3.3 million for the district's debt service, up from $1.2 million the previous year. This is an increase of roughly $2 million, or 170 percent.

The $2 million represents the first bond payment for the new Camden-Rockport Middle School. The total CRMS bond payment for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is estimated at $2.1 million. The existing debt service interest expense will be reduced by $27,000.

The preliminary SAD 28 budget also includes $88,000 in spending for the Mary E. Taylor building and the new middle school facility that will be built on Knowlton Street in Camden. Fifteen thousand dollars is categorized as "Board, legal, MET," and $8,000 is set aside to send a proposal for use of the MET building out to referendum this fall. Another $40,000 is earmarked for operations and maintenance costs, as well as architect's fees for the proposal. And $25,000 is devoted to potentially acquiring LiveStream camera equipment  for use in both districts.

Instruction cost is typically the largest portion of the budget, and the expected cost to educate children at Camden-Rockport Elementary and Middle schools for 2018-2019 is approximately $5.4 million, up $68,000 or 1 percent, from the previous year.

Other cost centers include:

–Other instruction, $108,000, down $6,000 or 5 percent.

–Student/staff support, $1 million, up $39,000 or 4 percent

–Operations and maintenance, $1.7 million, down $74,000, or 4 percent. This includes the $40,000 for the MET proposal, as mentioned above.

Five Town CSD

The largest proposed change to the CSD budget from the previous fiscal year is a decrease of $1 million, or 94 percent, in the Mid-Coast School of Technology program assessment. Last year the district contributed $1 million to MCST program assessment, but this year only $62,000 is requested — the result of a new funding formula.

"State funding for technical education is now being paid from the DOE directly to the Mid-Coast School of Technology. In the past, the funds for technical education from the state had first gone to the member schools via the school funding formula (ED279), and the member schools would then make monthly payments to Mid- Coast School of Technology," Five Town CSD/SAD 28 Business Manager Cathy Murphy said Feb. 19.

Because the Five Town CSD includes a number of member towns that are considered minimum receivers (i.e., they have high property valuations), the Five Town CSD received minimal state funding for technical education expenses.

The Five Town CSD's share of debt service for the new MCST building is $800,031 and is recorded in the debt service cost center. There will be a significant decrease next year in interest expense for Camden Hills in the amount of $166,423,  resulting in a net increase to debt service of $633,608.

Other cost centers include:

–Instruction, $5 million, up $78,000 or 2 percent.

–Other instruction, $545,000, up $45,000, or 9 percent. This includes $10,000 toward an ice hockey program.

–Student/staff support, $1.7 million, up $38,000, or 3 percent.

–Operations and maintenance, $1.3 million, up $100,000, or 8 percent. This includes $50,000 for a new art room and senior lounge.

The SAD 28 and Five Town CSD school boards will not approve the budgets until the beginning of April, and in the meantime adjustments may be made.

Public input meetings on the budgets have been scheduled for Monday, March 26, in the lecture hall at Camden Hills. The SAD 28 budget will be discussed from 6 to 7 p.m., and the CSD budget will be discussed from 7 to 8 p.m.