LEEDS — Superintendent Kimberly Brandt presented a proposed 2018-19 budget of $27.46 million to School Administrative District 52 directors Thursday evening.

It’s a $1.36 million more than this current year’s spending plan, which was $26.1 million. It includes money for four new buses, new computers a full-time substance abuse counselor.

The budget passed by voters in May 2017 required any additional state subsidy received by the district above the state’s original funding in February of that year be returned to the towns. In the summer of 2017, the district did receive an additional subsidy of approximately $575,000. The subsidy, less unanticipated expenses, will be returned to the towns later this year.

According to Brandt, this year, state law requires 50 percent of any additional subsidy received by Maine school districts for the coming 2018-19 school year must go back to the towns. However, Brandt said no additional subsidy is anticipated this year.

The final budget proposal will be hammered out in a series of budget workshops starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Tripp Middle School in Turner.

Brandt encouraged residents to attend the workshops, voice their opinions. The public can view the budget and keep up to date on changes on the district’s website, www.rsu52.us/budget.

Bruce Nadeau of RHR Smith & Company briefed the board on the 2016-17 audit that was completed recently. He recommended the district be more “proactive than reactive” in setting aside funds for improvements and repairs. He said overall the budget showed “good fiscal restraint.”

Neal Rioux, a teacher at Leavitt Area High School in Turner, updated the board on students using more tools on the Google platform through tablets and monitors installed in classrooms.

His wife, Nadia Rioux, a teacher at Turner Elementary School, said the Robotics Club, which teaches fifth- and sixth-graders coding, has 20 students willing to give up their recess to participate in the program.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with corrected information on Feb. 27, 2018.

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