Cumberland, N. Yarmouth voters OK school budget twice

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CUMBERLAND — School Administrative District 51 voters approved next year’s $32.6 million budget twice this past week.

The first vote came June 5 at a Town Meeting-style gathering at Greely High School, where more than 60 voters breezed through all warrant articles in 50 minutes. Then on Tuesday, the SAD 51 spending plan was approved in a state-required validation referendum, 1,003 to 623.

Cumberland voters approved the budget 757-455, while North Yarmouth OK’d it, 246-168.

About $20.1 million of the fiscal 2015 budget comes from taxes, with $14.3 million to be paid by Cumberland, and $5.9 million by North Yarmouth.

Cumberland’s property tax rate could rise about 2 percent, or 33 cents per $1,000 of valuation. North Yarmouth’s hike could be about 3.5 percent, or 59 cents per $1,000 of valuation.

While the budget as proposed in March called for a 4.22 percent increase, health insurance costs ended up being about $116,000 higher than expected, which raised that increase to 4.59 percent.

Subsequent budget changes included an additional $66,000 for a first-grade teacher, due to enrollment increases. But the district also found about $162,000 in reductions, including about $87,000 in salary adjustments from teacher resignations and retirements.

SAD 51 also received nearly $39,000 in additional state subsidy. The budget hike was ultimately shaved from 4.59 percent to 4.3 percent.

Included in the budget is $14.6 for regular instruction, $5.7 million for special education, $2.6 million for student and staff support, $1.2 million or school administration, $1.3 million for transportation and buses, $2.6 million for facilities maintenance and nearly $3 million for debt service and other commitments.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.