News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 30, 2020
Board sends proposed GSA tuition increase to referendum vote
Blue Hill School Board unanimous

by Anne Berleant

During discussions around the 2020-21 school budget January 28, the Blue Hill School Board unanimously approved holding a referendum vote on paying a higher tuition rate to George Stevens Academy.

The independent high school has requested an additional $300 per student next year as part of a proposal that would raise tuition $2,700 over three years.

No warrant article has been drafted yet, Superintendent Mark Hurvitt said, but the referendum will be part of the Town Meeting warrant, with voting scheduled for Friday, April 3.

For Blue Hill, who sends the highest number of students to GSA, the increase could add $45,000 to $50,000 to the 2020-21 budget. Before any increase, secondary education is projected to rise $21,504 to accommodate two additional students.

GSA currently charges the state high school tuition rate, projected at $11,700 for 20-21, plus an Insured Value Factor of 6 percent. GSA proposes raising the IVF, meant for facilities maintenance, to around 9 percent equaling $300 per student.

Blue Hill already is obligated to paying back renovation loans for its elementary school, $149,834 in 2020-21 and 2021-22. At that time, one loan will be repaid, leaving 11 years of payments of $102,394.

Adding to the budget increase is a special education rise in costs of $140,550.

With several drafts ahead of the board, the initial budget proposal is 5.76 percent over this year’s amount. Special budget meetings are scheduled for February 6 and 13, with the regular board meeting February 12. All start at 5 p.m. at the Blue Hill Consolidated School library.