Rockland-area school budget roars to passage

By Stephen Betts | Jun 12, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — Voters across the Rockland-area school district gave overwhelming support Tuesday to the $29 million budget for 2018-2019.

With all five communities in Regional School Unit 13 reporting, the school budget sailed to passage by a 2,187 to 778 tally.

Rockland backed the budget 981 to 344. Owls Head supported the budget 300 to 101 and Cushing backed it 231 to 88. Thomaston backed it 420 to 172. South Thomaston supported the budget 255 to 73..

"The RSU 13 School Board and all of our school staff are extremely grateful for for the support of our communities as we realize the vision for the Schools of Our Future," Superintendent John McDonald said Tuesday night, June 12. "Together we are creating opportunities for our students to reach their dreams and building what is and will truly be an exceptional place for families to live and children to learn and grow."

The $29,035,000 spending package for 2018-2019 is up 7.9 percent ($2.1 million) from 2017-2018.

A significant portion of the increase is due to debt repayment for the district's building projects that include the new Ash Point Community School, and renovations and additions to Oceanside High School and Oceanside Middle School.

Other factors behind the increase in the RSU 13 budget are $825,000 in wage increases resulting from labor contracts approved over the past year between the board and workers. Benefit costs -- largely health insurance -- are up $565,000.

The budget also includes $127,250 for an additional pre-kindergarten class.

Another $220,000 of the increase is for special education staff added during the current school year that were not in the 2017-2018 budget and will continue in the budget for 2018-2019.

The proposed budget will require an additional $1,180,000 from the municipalities of RSU 13.

Rockland would be required to pay an additional $347,000 (for a total of $9,353,101); Thomaston would pay an additional $342,000 (for a total of $4,417,339); Cushing an additional $180,000 (total of $3,387,546); South Thomaston an extra $182,000 (total of $2,862,603); and Owls Head $129,000 (total of $2,850,124) more than 2017-2018.

The article will be updated when additional results are received.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jun 13, 2018 07:39

Each year I get more confused at the exsisting realities of our little town. Many residents are older and living on fixed incomes, their children all grown up and living in California.  Many of the younger people are working at low paying jobs and struggling to pay their high priced rent .  Most continually complain about Rockland's high taxes.  Yet a school budget containing an 8% increase "sails to passage".  Someone please explain this to me ?

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