GRAY — The $26.7 million Gray-New Gloucester School District budget has cleared the first of two public votes.

Each of the 18 warrant articles for the 2018-19 budget passed at the SAD 15 budget meeting May 17 at Gray-New Gloucester High School, Superintendent of Schools Craig King said.

The budget will go a referendum in both towns June 12. It represents a $1.2 million increase — or almost 4.9 percent — over the current budget.

King said proposed district funding for career and technical education is down from this fiscal year because of a change in how the state approaches that funding.

A January notice from the Maine Department of Education noted that career and technical education state subsidy payments will go directly to the career and education centers and regions, rather than school districts.

Gray-New Gloucester sends students to the Portland Arts and Technology High School for career and technical education.

In a prepared budget message in late April, King highlighted several elements of the proposed budget. He said the spending plan is largely the result of:

• Salary and benefits negotiations with teacher and support staff associations in an effort to be competitive in staff recruitment;

• New technology infrastructure for the middle school science and K-2 elementary literacy programs;

• Capital maintenance costs; and

• Cost of maintaining a shared resource officer with Gray, despite the end of federal funding for the position.

King has also noted that the budget seeks to build on existing school initiatives, rather than creating new programs.

“We’re not inventing anything new,” he said Friday morning, adding that the district is focusing on instruction and school safety.

SAD 15 expects an increase of more than $717,500 in state subsidy for the coming fiscal year.

King said districts need to be careful in making assumptions about what they may receive in state support from year to year.

“That’s always a moving target — and so you just have to be cautious,” he said, adding that he believes the state Legislature has always been supportive of public education.

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