Cumberland, North Yarmouth voters OK $33.8M school budget

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CUMBERLAND — School Administrative District 51 voters on Tuesday gave final approval to a $33.8 million budget.

The fiscal 2016 spending plan, which passed 506-376, was initially supported by Cumberland and North Yarmouth voters at a town meeting-style gathering May 14.

Cumberland voters approved the budget 292-251; North Yarmouth approved it 214-125.

“I am thankful to the voters in Cumberland and North Yarmouth for supporting the budget,” Superintendent Jeff Porter said in an email Tuesday night. “Despite many challenges in developing the FY 2015-16 budget, including a drastic reduction in state subsidy, the district was still able to present a responsible budget with a modest increase of 3.6 percent.

“Thank you to the Board of Directors, Finance Committee, and district Leadership Team for their long hours and hard work in crafting a budget that both meets the needs of our students and exercises fiscal restraint,” he added.

Spending will increase 3.6 percent over the current level.

With school, town and county assessments combined, Cumberland will see a tax hike of $75 for each $100,000 in property valuation, or $262.50 on a $350,000 home. The combined impact in North Yarmouth will be a $53 increase for every $100,000, or an impact of $185.50 on a $350,000 home.

The budget was impacted by an approximately $642,000 funding reduction for the district from Gov. Paul LePage’s state budget proposal, which stems from three factors: $232,000 from retirement of debt for the Mabel I. Wilson School, a $120,000 reduction in bus subsidy, and $290,000 from declining enrollment and a state mil rate shift.

Additions to the budget include an increase in Greely High School staffing to support required Response to Intervention program guidelines and increased enrollment; a new elementary math program geared toward better alignment with state standards; technology infrastructure investments; new support for teacher orientation; additional Greely Middle School nursing time, and a specialist for students with unique learning needs.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or 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.