Cumberland-North Yarmouth school budget could rise nearly 6%

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CUMBERLAND — Next year’s School Administrative District 51 spending plan would increase 5.9 percent under the superintendent’s proposed budget.

The $28.9 million budget approved by voters in the Cumberland-North Yarmouth district last year would increase to nearly $30.6 million, a $1.7 million climb.

The fiscal 2012 budget was a nearly 3 percent increase over the previous year, and followed three years of flat budgets of $28 million.

SAD 51 benefited in fiscal 2012 from about $517,000 in federal jobs money, a resource unavailable for fiscal 2013. That money funded 16 jobs that now must be put back into the general operating budget, Scott Poulin, the district’s finance director, said last week.

That lost money accounts for 1.8 percent of the total 5.9 percent increase, Poulin said.

The district plans to cut three elementary teachers in next year’s budget, a reduction driven by declining enrollment. New positions include part-time literacy coaches at Mabel I. Wilson, North Yarmouth Memorial and Greely Middle schools, and full- and part-time math teachers at Greely High School.

SAD 51 is also budgeting for 10 educational technician positions. Seven of those were added during the current fiscal year and three are to be added next year, to address incoming students with special needs.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for April 12, followed by the SAD 51 Board of Director’s approval May 7.

Cumberland and North Yarmouth residents will vote twice on the budget, first at a Town Meeting-style gathering on June 7, and then in a budget validation referendum on June 12.

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.