SAD 1 budget will increase local taxes

11 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The SAD 1 school board unanimously passed a proposed 2023-24 budget of $29.1 million, up $1.6 million from last year.

The board voted during a special meeting on May 3.

It will be the first time in five years the district has asked for an increase in local taxes. The amount to be raised from taxes is 5.83 percent more than in 2022-23. The need is due primarily to rising costs of salaries, up 3 percent, and benefits, which will rise 10 percent next year primarily due to health insurance costs.

“There has been a little bit of shifting but no real change in the total number of positions in the proposed budget,” said Holly Vining, district business manager.

Despite state revenue sharing being at $16,409,028, increased by $872,862 from last year’s $15,536,166, the district projects a budget shortfall of $470,000. Salaries and benefits total about $1.2 million, which is 77 percent of the budget.  

The mill rate will increase from the current $11.15 to $11.48 in 2024, according to the proposed budget.

The total district assessments for each municipality are $196,786 for Castle Hill, $225,479 for Chapman, $955,703 for Mapleton, 4,032,725 for Presque Isle, and $288,383 for Westfield.

The budget proposal includes, for all instruction, $16,851,066, up $896,646 from last year; student and staff support including guidance, health and library services, $2,676,794, up $226,566 from last year; administration, $2,237,520, up $122,387; transportation and buses, $2,958,905, up $146,304; facilities and maintenance, $3,892,243, up $294,043; debt services and other commitments, $229,090, down $9,233; and all other expenses including school lunch, $300,000, down $25,000 from last year.

Though some school board members noted the increasing costs in health insurance for school employees, having health insurance helps to hire and maintain new employees coming into the district, board member Paul Saija said.

SAD 1 will contribute 3.48 percent for employee retirement this year, increasing to 4.47 next year. That includes all administrators, teachers, and education technicians eligible for the Maine Public Employee Retirement System.