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- The Forecaster
CUMBERLAND — Next year’s budget in School Administrative District 51 could increase 4.34 percent to $35.2 million.
That amount, minus anticipated revenues, would produce a proposed tax assessment on the Cumberland-North Yarmouth district of $22.8 million, up nearly $900,000 from the current fiscal year.
Cumberland’s tax rate would rise by 1.5 percent, adding 28 cents per $1,000 of valuation, or a $98 annual increase on a home valued at $350,000.
North Yarmouth’s rate would increase 1.7 percent, for an extra 30 cents on the tax rate, or $105 for a $350,000 home.
Salaries and benefits are causing most of next year’s budget increase, according to a March 21 memo from Superintendent Jeff Porter to the SAD 51 Board of Directors. They are due to rise about $580,000 and $259,000, respectively.
Health insurance could rise 6 percent. Other increases include two new teachers ($55,000 each) at Mabel I. Wilson due to an enrollment increase; replacing classroom furniture; technology investments; added support for Response to Intervention programming; a new school bus; and a maintenance truck.
Revenues include $308,000 in additional state subsidies for fiscal year 2017, along with $300,000 in unspent money received from the state after the fiscal year 2016 budget was approved.
The spending plan includes nearly $163,000 in cuts, such as a teaching position at Greely High School through attrition due to an enrollment drop there. Another $88,600 was shaved from administrative requests.
District enrollment is projected to decrease from the current 2,026 to 2,005 next year, according to Porter. But a change in enrollment at the Mabel I. Wilson elementary school between last March and this August shows a 7.4 percent projected increase, the superintendent explained in an interview last week.
According to a budget presentation given at the School Board’s March 24 meeting, SAD 51’s gross budget for 2016 was $33.8 million for 2,026 students, compared with $22 million in Yarmouth for 1,600 students, $33.2 million in Falmouth for 2,136 students, and $23.6 million in Cape Elizabeth for 1,600 students.
SAD 51 has the lowest tax-assessed cost per pupil, according to Porter and Finance Director Scott Poulin – about $10,800 – compared with $11,400 in Yarmouth, $11,500 in Falmouth, and nearly $12,800 in Cape Elizabeth.
The per-pupil cost was $215 in the 1950s, according to the presentation.
A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 25 at the Greely High School library. The School Board is due to adopt the spending plan Monday, May 2.
Two votes by the public follow: at a district budget meeting in the Greely High gym at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, and a budget validation referendum Tuesday, June 14.