- Police Beat
- The Forecaster
PORTLAND — The School Board on Monday unanimously approved a spending package of nearly $118 million.
The fiscal year 2020 budget, which would add 61 cents per $1,000 of valuation to the property tax rate, or about $144 a year to a home valued at $240,000, now goes to the City Council.
The School Board took about 30 minutes to approve the new school budget during a special meeting held April 8 at Casco Bay High School.
The council is expected to get its first look at the school budget April 22. Councilors are scheduled to hold a final vote May 20 on the combined municipal and school spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The school budget will go to voters in a June 11 referendum.
During recent budget deliberations, Superintendent of Schools Xavier Botana said the proposed school spending represents an increase of $7.2 million, with about $2.6 million for new investments.
He said the new spending is designed to support an expanded pre-kindergarten program, additional behavioral health initiatives and core instruction designed for at-risk students.
According to Botana, the new programs account for 22 cents of the proposed tax increase.
Other budget drivers include an increase in debt service of just over $1 million for the first year of the Lyseth Elementary School renovation project.
Lyseth is the first school that will be renovated under a $64 million bond passed in November 2017 to upgrade four of the city’s elementary schools. Work is scheduled to begin soon on the $12 million Lyseth project. The other schools included in the bond are Longfellow, Presumpscot and Reiche.
Following Monday’s meeting, Chairman Roberto Rodriguez said board members were “very positive and appreciative of the transparent, collaborative and extensive work done by the superintendent, staff and Finance Committee following last year’s difficult budget process.”