PARIS – This year’s Oxford Hills Technical School budget nearly mirrors the previous year’s budget. Overall it has increased only 1.01 percent, or $34,166.

And that made Director Thomas Cope happy, as it did the school board members Thursday night when they passed it unanimously.

The budget, as it stands now, is $3,393,608. It may change before the June 10 referendum vote depending on insurance and teacher salary negotiations.

Cope said he was told by Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance officials to plan on a rate increase of 18 percent.

The salary scale of teachers in the technical school is tied into the same contract that other teachers in the district have, which is now being negotiated.

Currently, there are 20 instructors and five trade assistants at the technical school.

Last year’s contingency fund was $39,714. For 2003-2004 it’s projected at $100,000 to cover possible salary increases.

Even though there is more money allotted in the contingency fund for the coming year, the projected salaried-personnel expense line is down $23,074. That’s because a forestry instructor position will be cut and a trade assistant position added.

Cope was pleased with the administration expenditure, which only rose $700 from the previous year, crediting a frugal staff. He also said transportation cost was down $15,000 this year because the school made a final lease payment on one of its two buses and debt service was down almost $31,000.

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