Voters in Searsport and Stockton Springs gave final approval to the Regional School Unit 20 budget by a wide margin June 12.

Stockton voters passed the budget with a 332 to 144 vote, with 14 blank ballots. Searsport residents also were in favor of the budget, approving it with a vote of 383 to 110, with five blanks.

Searsport and Stockton Spring voters made quick work May 30 of the 19 articles that comprise the proposed 2018-19 school budget. The 25 residents who attended the session in the Searsport District Middle/High School cafetorium approved the $10,283,978 budget, which represents an increase of $28,330 year-over-year.

In a letter to voters, Regional School Unit 20 Superintendent Chris Dowling said the higher figure is due, in part, to an increase in the music program, extension of his work days to 183 from 156, and an increase for a K-5 social worker.

A redesign of the administration also impacted the board's budget recommendations. In the upcoming school year, grades K-seven will now have a dean of students who will also serve as attendance coordinator, and grades eight-12 will have a dean of students who will also serve as the athletic director.

New for this budget year is a change in funding for Waldo County Technical Center, which will come directly from the state of Maine. The applicable line of the proposed budget lists 'Career and Technical Education' with a proposed amount of $0 for that reason.

Another change made by the Department of Education is that food costs will no longer be shown as 'All other expenditures" but instead will have a separate warrant article.

"Those are changes not made by RSU 20 but made by the state of Maine and the Department of Education, and they also follow the recommendations of Drummond Woodsum, which is our legal authority," Dowling said.

Journal reporter Fran Gonzalez contributed to this report.