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Brunswick schools Superintendent Phil Potenziano on Wednesday unveiled a $54.6 million budget plan that he said streamlines operations while maintaining a high level of programming for students.

The budget represents a 3.14% increase in spending over the current budget and would increase the tax rate by an estimated 2.12%. If approved, it would raise property taxes on a home assessed at $300,000 by about $150.

鈥淭his budget ensures that we鈥檙e going to continue to maintain a high standard of quality educational programming and resources for our students, while also supporting our staff,鈥 he said. 鈥淲e鈥檝e sharpened our pencils and made some reductions.鈥

Among the planning reductions are 10.5 full-time equivalent positions, which would save $959,000. Five of the positions are vacant, while the rest have yet to be identified.

鈥淚t鈥檚 a dynamic situation and it鈥檚 premature for me to say which positions will be reduced,鈥 Potenziano said, adding administrators will first look to cut positions involving retirements and attrition. 鈥淲e will focus on programming alignment and efficiencies with a goal of minimal impact to student programming and current staff.鈥

The plan also calls for the elimination of the school鈥檚 regional Teaching Restorative Experiential Knowledge special education program at Brunswick Landing for students in grades 9-12, which would save $145,000. Potenziano said the program used to have about 20 students but it now down to 12, five of whom are from Brunswick. Those students would be transferred to Brunswick High School and placed in similar programs.

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The TREK program offers hands-on learning experiences, including boat building classes at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and volunteer opportunities at Midcoast Humane in Brunswick.

Ruth Joyce, the Brunswick School Department鈥檚 acting director of special education, recently told the school board the program can be challenging to run due to staffing turnover and its status as a remote program, among other factors.

鈥淚t鈥檚 a hard decision 鈥 because it鈥檚 been an exceptional program,鈥 she said.

Some of the cost drivers of the budget include a $979,803 increase in salaries and benefits for regular instruction teachers based on contract pay hikes and higher insurance costs. For special education teachers, the hike is expected to be $1,091,413. The budget includes about $300,000 to account for the state鈥檚 new and various increased costs as the district鈥檚 enrollment increased to 2,435 this year, up from 2,352 a year ago.

The budget includes the planned purchase of two propane buses, one for $142,750 and a wheelchair-accessible one for $148,915. The department expects the state to reimburse it $131,450 for each bus in fiscal year 2026, and it plans to apply for federal grants that would provide $20,000 in funding for each bus.

At Brunswick High School, the superintendent said the school department plans to replace the aging gym bleachers for $250,000 and replace part of the roof for $69,000. At Brunswick Junior High School, the department plans to replace the curtain wall windows for $160,000 and establish an entrance vestibule for safety for $75,000.

Potenziano said the department plans to forgo some projects like a $500,000 repair to another section of the high school roof and $150,000 to replace classroom windows.

School Board Chairperson Beth Bisson said the budget is efficient and noted the tax impact is lower than the rate of inflation.

鈥淭his is not a wish list,鈥 she said. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 see a lot of wiggle room.鈥

The department is聽 on the budget plan through its website and will hold a public hearing on it on Feb. 28 at Town Hall. The school board is expected to vote on its final budget plan on March 13, and it then requires approval from the Town Council.

鈥淲e鈥檝e worked hard at trying to have minimal impact on students, programming and our employees,鈥 Potenziano said.


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