Cape Elizabeth school chief: Budget passage 'vote of confidence'

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Superintendent of Schools Howard Colter called Tuesday’s approval of a $24.9 million school budget for the 2018 fiscal year a “vote of confidence.”

Colter pledged the School Department would “continue to work hard to better our schools and challenge our students.”

Voters on June 13 approved the school spending package 631-487, according to Town Clerk Debra Lane. The budget represents an increase in spending of nearly $591,500 and a 55-cent increase in the tax rate.

Although the budget passed, the majority of voters in a related question – 542 –said the budget was “too high,” while 400 found it “acceptable” and 157 said it was “too low,” Lane said.

Voter turnout was approximately 13 percent, with 1,125 ballots cast.

“I would like the voters to know just how grateful I am for their support of the School Department’s budget, as well as their ongoing commitment to a deep and challenging educational experience for the children of Cape Elizabeth,” Colter said after the referendum.

“This budget allows us to maintain our core programs and offer increased support for students who would benefit from additional services,” he added. “We will also be hiring several educational technicians to work directly with students under the guidance of teachers in small group settings, focused on the three R’s. An additional custodian will be hired, (as well), which will help us clean and spruce up our facilities.”

Overall, Colter said, ” I would like to remind the community of Cape Elizabeth that they have a highly dedicated and capable group of teachers. They work hard each and every day to meet the needs of your children. Your support for this budget means a great deal to all of us.”

Colter said he anticipates that once the Legislature passes the new biennial state budget this summer, Cape will receive more funding than is currently included in the just-approved spending package.

“This would be good news for Cape Elizabeth,” he said, “in that those additional state funds would lower the tax burden.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.