The 2013 Falmouth school budget is one the Town Council and the voters should support. The district has done an admirable job of reducing operating costs (which include a projected savings of $85,000 in middle school heating costs due to a new wood chip boiler there) and coping with the loss of federal funds (jobs bill dollars and Medicaid reimbursement). The first payment on the new elementary school debt represents almost half of the 2013 budgeted increase over the current year’s budget. Added to the debt we are still paying on the high school, school construction long-term debt payments account for 5.15 percent of this year’s increase. This year’s requests for new programs are negligible.
Unlike other towns in Maine, our school-aged population is growing – 50 more children this year than originally anticipated. This is good news – good public schools help maintain strong property values – but an increased school population means we need to make some adjustments to serve them.
The mil rate impact of the proposed 2013 budget at 9.86 is still below the levels of 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 budgets. That’s an increase of 5.32 percent – less than what we are seeing from surrounding towns. All around, this budget is both thoughtful and reasonable and deserves the Town Council’s and voters’ support.