GRAY — Regional School Unit 15 will hold a district budget meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Gray-New Gloucester High School cafetorium on Libby Hill Road in Gray.

Voter registration begins at 6 p.m.

The proposed 2015-16 budget totals $23.91 million, an increase of $116,970 or 0.49 percent compared to the current school year’s budget.

If approved, the increase would amount to a property tax increase for Gray residents of $14 per $100,000 of assessed property value. For New Gloucester residents, it would be about $7.

Registered voters will be asked to decide 18 warrant articles to fund the district’s five schools, pay debt service of $601,964, raise $2.28 million for additional local funds, administration and transportation services and $3.99 million  for special education.

Superintendent Bruce Beasley said by phone on Monday the district is no longer required to fund the cost of charter school placements at $384,862. Gov. Paul LePage recently signed legislation to fund charter schools at the state level.

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The district also plans to reduce two teacher positions at Russell School because of lower enrollment projections and eliminate one assistant high school principal’s post.

A resource teacher will be added at the high school, plus two special education technicians.

Special education costs are up $438,990 due to increases in student needs and population.

Regular instruction funding is down by $434,833, which includes Gifted and Talented and English Language Learners programs and the removal of charter school expenses.

In addition, voters will be asked to fund adult education at $127,340 and raise $53,000 as the local share in a separate warrant article.

By written ballot, voters will also be asked to pay $99,544 to fund a school resource officer for 38 weeks per year — an appropriation that exceeds the state’s Essential Programs and Services allocation model. This funding will be provided only if a companion article is passed in June by Gray voters to fund 14 additional weeks for sheriff’s department services.


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