About 25 voters from Regional School Unit 71 towns passed the 2019-20 proposed school budget without changes Tuesday at Troy Howard Middle School.

The total budget of $28,019,030, is up 2.35% from the previous budget of $27,021,744, a difference of $997,285.

Superintendent Mary Alice McLean said there were several factors that enabled the board to create a proposed budget with such a "modest" increase. She cited better-than-expected state funding to the district, exceptional fiscal restraint on part of the district, and analysis of class size policy, which led to consolidated classes at several schools.

She also noted that due to resignations and retirements, there was "no reduction in force and all staff members kept their jobs."

Additions to the 2019-20 RSU 71 budget include an assistant principal at Capt. Albert Stevens School, an elementary school nurse, a guidance counselor, a world language teacher at Troy Howard Middle School, a full-time guidance administrative assistant at Belfast Area High School, a full-time English teacher at BAHS, paving at THMS, purchase of a new school bus and the lease of one new bus, a full-time maintenance position, an assistant mechanic, a lease program replacing cleaning equipment at all schools, two speech pathologists, three occupational therapists, and the first principal payment on the high school renovation project.

Upcoming school budget meetings

Regional School Unit 3 meets Wednesday, May 22, at 7 p.m. in the Mount View Middle School gym. Regional School Unit 20 meets Wednesday, May 29, at 7 p.m. in the Searsport Middle/High School Cafetorium. Regional School Unit 22 meets Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. at Hampden Academy. Regional School Unit 25 meets Wednesday, May 29, at 7 p.m. at the Bucksport Middle School performing arts center.

The RSU 71 towns of Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont and Swanville will vote on the final budget referendum on Tuesday, June 11.