Regional School Unit 3 voters approved a proposed draft budget for 2018-19 without changes at a district public meeting May 23 in the Mount View Middle School gymnasium.

On first glance, the budget appears to be welcome news. The total of $20,238,000 is $416,000 less than last year's budget.

"The decrease was due to the reduction in spending for the Waldo County Technical Center, which is now funded by the Maine Department of Education," Superintendent Paul Austin explained.

The essential programs and services formula changed from the previous year, Austin said. The state now funds technical centers across Maine. "And the reduction in our payment for the Mount View Complex, which is funded 100-percent by the state," he added.

So, as the debt is reducing, so is the amount of money that has to be paid back, Austin said.

Also contributing to the budget decrease is funding for the school nutrition program, which now has its own article, Austin said.

Once you remove Tech Center and school nutrition funding from the equation, the FY19 budget has actually increased by $297,427 or 1.49 percent.

Austin said no new administrative support staff had been added to the budget, although two new coaches for unified basketball and track had been approved by the board.

Part of the budget increase Austin attributed to "contract salary and benefits obligations."

The new budget also reflects the first payment of the revolving renovation projects at Troy, Morse, Monroe and Walker elementary schools.

Any additional funds that the Legislature approves for education this year will be used to reduce the tax burden on district towns.

All 11 towns that comprise RSU 3 will vote on this proposed budget June 12 at their respective town offices. Brooks residents will vote at the Fire Station.