TOPSHAM — The School Administrative District 75 board unanimously approved the nearly $38 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday, which will now go to the voters in a four-town referendum in June.

The proposed spending plan of $37,837,232 increased $535,706 — or 1.4 percent — over last year. The budget includes a new preschool program costing $163,287.

Voters in Topsham, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham and Harpswell will have a chance to discuss the budget at a district-wide budget meeting 6:30 p.m. on May 24 before voting on the proposal on June 12.

The district is losing almost $300,000 in state subsidy, a number that would be more than $518,000 if not for the implementation of the new preschool program.

Finance Committee chairwoman Kim Totten said the a majority of the 5-person committee did not recommend the preschool program, but she said she was not going to hold up the budget process and go against the will of the entire board.

Taxpayers in Topsham will be hit the hardest by the upcoming budget, with a 5.8 percent increase in the town’s contribution. For a home with an assessed value of $204,300, a taxpayer will pay $115 more than last year.

In Bowdoinham, the town’s assessment increased 4.1 percent, and it went up 2.6 percent in Bowdoin. Harpwell’s assessment decreased by 0.2 percent.

The biggest line-item increase is the 1.9 percent raise in teacher salaries, up $264,861 over last year. The district is saving $134,107, or 7.6 percent, on its debt service and capital leases.

The upcoming budget includes funding for a new teacher at Williams-Cone, a new business and human resource software package, a half-time teacher for the English Language Development program, a new high school summer program and professional development for a new middle school math series.

The district is also seeing savings by cutting three special education teaching positions due to declining caseloads.

For more information on the upcoming SAD 75 budget, visit