POLAND — The Regional School Unit 16 committee agreed Monday to take the Budget Committee’s recommended $20.8 million spending plan for 2016-17 to voters.

The budget is about $206,000 more than this year, but an increase in state funding means there will be minimal effect on local property taxes.

According to estimates provided by Superintendent Tina Meserve, Mechanic Falls residents should see a slight decrease in its total assessment, while Minot and Poland residents should increases in theirs.

Mechanic Falls’ assessment is expected to be about $6,000 less than for the current year. Minot residents will be asked to come up with nearly $31,000 more than this year. Poland’s assessment will increase by about $148,000.

If the budget passes, taxes on a $100,000 property in each of the towns would be: Mechanic Falls, down $6.73; Minot, up $4.80; Poland, up by $17.52.

Meserve listed several factors that contributed to holding down expenses, the single largest being the healthiness of school district employees which saved the district well over a $100,000.

“We had built in for a 5 percent increase in health insurance premiums and, because our rates are based on our actual usage, our increase was zero percent, for the third year in a row,” Meserve said.

Total spending on salaries was up by about $212,000, an additional $186,000 has been included in the special education budget and $25,000 is being sought for another modular classroom at Whittier Middle School.

The budget calls for an additional special education teacher and a half-time social worker at Poland Regional High School, $20,000 to complete development for a new math curriculum for grades kindergarten to six, $24,000 for staff training and $15,000 to send all sixth-graders to the three-day Ferry Beach ecology school.

Proposed for elimination is the kindergarten to sixth grade summer school, which would save about $28,000 plus transportation costs.

Meserve said overall budget remains below the $22 million the three district towns were paying in 2008.

“Our district is one in which consolidation has worked,” Meserve said.

The budget will be presented April 26 at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls, April 27 at at Poland Community School and April 28 at Minot Consolidated School, all at 6 p.m.


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