BATH — The budget for Regional School Unit 1, which serves Bath, Phippsburg, Arrowsic, and Woolwich, passed without issue for those attending the May 30 district budget meeting. Every budget item passed with little scrutiny.

The budget, which is just shy of $29 million, represents a 2.5 percent increase over last year’s. Depending on what the state decides to grant towns in the way of subsidies, the local contribution is estimated to increase by just under 4 percent.

Arrowsic’s contribution increased $36,386, representing a 7.1 percent increase. Bath’s increase is $361,349, or 3.7 percent. Phippsburg went up to $101,827, or 3.4 percent. And Woolwich is $164,718, or 4.2 percent.

The annual meeting occurred with few comments from those attending, and all 20 articles quickly passed. Almost every comment was a question for clarity, with only one criticism, by resident John Dever, who actually suggested an increase to one budget item. He felt the current $25,000 allocation for the capital reserve fund was too small given the upcoming Morse High School construction project.

“It was more to ease my mind than anything else,” said Dever. He felt the district should allocate more money in case unforeseen things come up during the school construction process. “Who knows if there will be some legal challenge,” he said.

School Board Chair Tim Harkins assuaged his fears, and said the state will reimburse any costs of that sort. “The way that the state runs the program is, with the money that they’re expending, they’ve allocated funds for studies and permitting.”

The one written ballot of the day, which addresses whether residents approve raising local funds above what the state deems to be the minimum amount necessary, passed 37 – 1 in favor of spending $2.8 million more than the State’s Essential Programs and Services funding model.

Harkins said the hard work of the school board is what made the budget such a cinch for residents.

“I would attribute that to the school board’s sensitivity and recognition of trying to find that balance between what our students need and what our community will bear. We’re trying to be sensitive to both the needs of our students and the needs of our taxpayers.”

Most of the increases to the budget, said Harkins, came from contractually obligated increases to salaries and benefits. Currently, the district is carrying debt that’s well below the state average, keeping the budget in check.

The final referendum on the budget will be on June 13 at municipal polling places. For more information, visit www.rsu1.org.