BATH — Regional School Unit 1 has raised about $450,000 toward its $700,000 goal to add enhancements to the new Morse High School, Superintendent Patrick Manuel said during a board meeting Monday.

The enhancements aren’t part of the $75 million project Manuel said.

The district — Arrowsic, Bath, Phippsburg and Woolwich — was approved by the state to begin the process of financing the first $21 million in funding for the project in June.

Architect Ron Lamarre updated the board on the project and said site work will begin this summer. Construction on the school itself is expected to start in March 2019.

“We’re still on the same schedule that we’ve been on,” Lamarre said during a PowerPoint presentation.
Lamarre said the project will go out to bid in January and the school is expected to be completed by August 2020 and open in September 2020.

One of the changes to the plan is the addition of seats to the new school’s auditorium. Lamarre said the space will now seat between 690-700, and there is still discussion about adding even more to the auditorium’s capacity.

“We’ve also talked about a wrestling room (that would be) off the fitness center,” Lamarre said.

The district has spent about 65 percent of its current budget through March and projects spending more than 91 percent by the end of the fiscal year.

There was a public forum to discuss the upcoming year’s budget, but nobody from the public spoke.
RSU 1 is proposing spending $30,101,503 for the 2018-19 school year, an increase of $1,122,486, or 3.87 percent. Last year, the district spent $28,979,017.

Among the increases are an additional $516,000 for regular instruction and $313,000 for special education instruction, plus an added $221,000 for operation and maintenance. RSU 1 is saving nearly $70,000 in school administration costs.

More than 70 percent of the budget is salaries and benefits for employees, and the district is proposing a 5.74 percent increase to those line items. The district is hoping to spend $21,123,757, up $1,145,901 from last year.

RSU 1 is hoping for additional funding for three educational technician positions, one at Phippsburg Elementary, one at Dike-Newell and one at Fisher-Mitchell.

The district also wants to fund a part-time finance clerk, an additional day per week for an assistant superintendent, two deans of students positions at Bath Middle and Woolwich Central and an educational technician for math intervention at Woolwich.

The second reading of the budget will be on May 7 and the district-wide budget meeting is scheduled for May 29, at Bath Middle.

RSU 1 residents will vote on the budget on June 12.