Scarborough voters narrowly reject $34.9M school budget as too low

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SCARBOROUGH — Voters narrowly rejected a proposed $34.9 million school budget in the validation referendum Tuesday, 493-483.

Voters also indicated, by a vote of 490-387, that the budget was too low.

“Now we go back to the drawing board,” Superintendent of Schools David Doyle said.

The Town Council will have the opportunity to set a new bottom line for the fiscal 2011 budget, but it will be up to the School Board to determine which items will be revised. The council could also send the same budget back to the voters again.

The original school budget called for 31 positions to be cut, despite an overall tax increase of 3.95 percent. The cuts were due primarily to a 19 percent reduction in general purpose aid from the state.

“I hope there will be an opportunity for people to voice their concerns,” Doyle said. “But there were already many things put out there by the citizens in earlier meetings. There are things the board can look to put back in.”

Doyle said he expects the School Board to make its recommendation to the council at the next council meeting on Wednesday, May 19. Once the council determines the new bottom line, the voters will have the opportunity to vote again.

“I would hope the second referendum would happen at the primary vote (on June 8),” Doyle said.

If voters continue to reject the budget, the proposed spending plan will go into effect July 1 and continue until a new budget is approved.

The school board will hold a special meeting on Monday, May 17 at 3:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the town hall to discuss and make adjustments to the budget.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]