Approximately 25 voters from Searsport and Stockton Springs approved the Regional School Unit 20 proposed budget without changes May 30.

The 2019-2020 proposed budget is $10,348,201, plus a food service budget of $194,000, bringing the total to more than $10.5 million. This represents increases of $94,612, or 2.98%, for Searsport and $14,573, or 0.56%, for Stockton Springs. The combined overall increase is $109,186, or 1.89%.

New positions include an ed tech who will serve all district schools, a facilities and maintenance position, a case manager at the elementary school and a part-time physical education/health teacher to be shared by the middle and high schools.

Other staff changes include a middle school guidance position increased to five from two-and-a-half days per week and an occupational therapy position increased to five days per week from four.

The budget also eliminated a middle and high school science department position and reduced the hours of an occupational therapy assistant. As well, a middle and high school social worker was reduced to two days per week from four.

Increasing the bottom line is continued funding for a school resource officer as well as $5,326 for Waldo County Technical Center, which was not required last year. The additional funding makes up for a portion of the tech center budget not covered by its Maine Department of Education subsidy.

"Regular Instruction" is the largest proposed expenditure at nearly $3 million. The $2,971,040 approved includes salaries, benefits and supplies for pre-K through grade 12. It is closely followed by "Special Education" at $2,549,864, which includes costs for students receiving services other than provided by regular instruction, as well as all special education salaries, benefits and contracted services.

Enrollment last year was down slightly at the elementary school, with 231 students in contrast to 239 in 2017. Middle school numbers remained the same at 117, but the high school also saw a reduction in students to 147 this year, compared to 166 in 2017.

The RSU 20 towns of Searsport and Stockton Springs will vote on the final budget validation referendum Tuesday, June 11. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Also on the ballot is one Board of Directors seat.