Brunswick voters approve extra spending for schools

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BRUNSWICK — Voters on Tuesday approved additional spending for the fiscal year 2014 school budget.

The 6.6 percent tax hike in the original budget will not increase.

The revised school budget was approved 457-208, according to unofficial results. Only 4 percent of the town’s more than 16,300 registered voters turned out.

The passage of the amended budget will allow the School Department to spend an unexpected $508,000 in education aid contained in the state budget. It is earmarked for teacher retirement costs and plans to construct a new school and renovate an existing one.

State law requires that voters must validate any changes to a school budget.

The $35 million school budget was approved by voters in June. It represented a 4.7 percent increase from last year.

The increase was partially caused by a hike in salaries, benefits, and special education and technology costs. The School Department also anticipated losing more than $195,000 because 18 local students plan to attend the Harpswell charter school that opens in September.

About $443,000 of the extra revenue to the schools will cover teacher retirement costs that were shifted to local school districts from the state. The remaining revenue will be used to pay PDT Architects of Portland to continue planning for a new elementary school and renovation of Brunswick Junior High School.

The Portland-based architecture firm is expected to provide more details on plans and costs to construct a new elementary school in September.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.