WASHINGTON — The Region 12 school board is sending a nearly $22 million school budget to voters next month.

The spending plan is $589,000, or 2.76 percent, higher than the current budget, but lower than the initial department requests and Superintendent Patricia Cosentino’s proposal.

It is set for a district meeting on May 7 with the possible referendum on May 8. Region 12 includes Washington, Bridgewater and Roxbury.

The Region 12 school board’s budget vote came after a public hearing earlier this month where three people spoke against the increase and one in favor of the budget.

“I appreciate your efforts, but for me it’s not enough,” Roxbury First Selectwoman Barbara Henry told the board at that meeting.

She said the increase, coupled with reduced state funding, is making it harder for the town to make up the difference. She said it’s even harder for Roxbury where the student enrollment is declining at a slower rate than the other towns, which is typically seen as a positive thing but translates into a bigger share of the Region 12 budget.

Board member Michelle Gorra has said the largest driver for the budget increase was $526,000 for health insurance premiums. An additional $100,000 is also needed for special education and another $100,000 for teacher contracts.

Among the cuts made in the budget are two school buses, 2.5 paraprofessional positions and $20,000 from the superintendent’s salary. The current superintendent is going to New Fairfield at the end of this school year.