I see that RSU 2’s budget is increasing about 3%. What is driving this increase?
We did our best to keep our budget reasonable and responsible. Our goal is to provide the best education for our kids without asking too much of our taxpayers. That is a hard balance, particularly because many of the increased costs are beyond our control. Here are a few reasons why the budget has increased:
- Flat funding from the state: Even though many of our costs are going up, state funding to RSU 2 has remained essentially the same.
- Increased teacher salaries: We have been working to raise teacher salaries, both because the state has recommended it and because we want to attract and retain top teachers. Our budget honors the annual salary increases that the current contract with teachers mandates.
- Increased insurance costs: Liability, property and vehicle insurances are increasing 18-22%, and more employees are electing higher health insurance coverage levels, which means that the district must pay more for its share of insurance costs.
- Inflation: The costs of many supplies and equipment are going up. (Ask any contractor about the price of 2X4s these days!)
Wait a minute. If the RSU 2 budget is increasing by 3%, why is the bill to each town increasing by 7%-9.5%?
It is very frustrating! We have worked hard to keep the budget reasonable, but our towns are experiencing a significant increase. How could that be? There are three reasons:
- The state is asking towns to pay more: The state (not the school district) has a formula that determines how much each town pays. The formula created a net increase in what taxpayers must pay based on changes in mill rate threshold and real estate values.
- No more unspent funds: Last year, we were able to use $500,000 in unspent funds to reduce the amount of the tax allocation to towns. This acted like a one-year credit eliminating the impact of about 1.7% of the increase in the budget last year. Therefore, this year taxpayers need to pay the full amount of current year’s budget plus the increase in costs anticipated in 21-22 for the same programing.
- Last year for example, the % increases to each municipality was still 3%-5.2%, after the $500,000 credit was applied eliminating the effect of the 2% ($548,814) increase in the RSU budget for 20-21. These separate percentages for the town and the RSU budget are not apples-to-apples comparable. The town allocation increase % is the change in town allocation dollar value as a percentage of the previous year’s total allocation for each town. As numbers, in different proportions to a smaller whole value, those percentages will always be higher.
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