Cape Elizabeth school budget, up 3.4%, heads to hearing, vote

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Finance Committee has sent the fiscal 2011 school budget to a Town Council public hearing scheduled for Monday, May 24.

The School Board’s $20.7 million budget was approved 5-2 by the committee, which includes all town councilors. Councilors Jessica Sullivan and Anne Swift-Kayatta were opposed.

Committee Chairwoman Sara Lennon said council will hold the public hearing on proposed town and school budgets at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers. On Tuesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m., the Town Council will meet again to take final action on the school budget proposal.

The School Board held five public workshops and two community input meetings before voting 7-0 on April 13 to approve the 2011 budget.

The proposed school budget is $672,000 more than this year, a 3.4 percent increase.

The board made about $300,000 in reductions to the budget, including:

• An educational technician II and 0.5 guidance counselor at Pond Cove Elementary School.

• A 0.5 educational technician I, a 0.5 computer lab educational technician III, and guidance department administrative support at the middle school.

• And a 0.3 choral music teacher, 0.2 Mandarin teacher, two instructional support educational technician II positions, and athletic stipends for diving and assistant indoor track coaching positions at the high school.

The board also added 4.35 staff positions at a cost of $269,000: a guidance position at Pond Cove Elementary School and $11,200 in stipends and one educational technician II at the high school.

Because of a loss of funding from the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation, a 0.4 teaching position will be funded by the budget, as well as a 0.2 language arts teacher and a 0.5 executive functioning skills teacher.

The total proposed fiscal 2011 Cape Elizabeth budget is $31.4 million, a two percent increase over this year. The proposed tax rate for 2011 is $17.86, an increase of 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, up 1.8 percent from this year.

Councilors will take public comment on the budget at the May 24 meeting, and are expected to vote to approve the budget on Tuesday, May 25. The public will vote on the school budget in a referendum June 8 at the Cape Elizabeth High School gymnasium from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]