Voters in Cumberland, North Yarmouth approve SAD 51 budget, closing of Drowne Road School

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CUMBERLAND — Voters approved a $28.9 million fiscal 2012 budget for School Administrative District 51 twice in the past week – at a Town Meeting-style vote June 9 and in Tuesday’s budget validation referendum, 1,184 to 643.

Cumberland voters passed the spending plan, 874-477, while North Yarmouth approved it 310-166.

The closing of the Drowne Road School in Cumberland also received district-wide approval, 1,697 to 224, on Tuesday. The referendum passed 1,276 to 172 in Cumberland and 421-52 in North Yarmouth.

The school budget will rise by more than $821,000 from the current year. Of that 2.93 percent increase, 1.62 percent is for operations and 1.31 percent is debt service from the recent renovation and expansion of Greely High School.

The budget follows three years of flat budgets of $28 million.

Cumberland’s tax assessment is due to increase more than $524,000, to $12.3 million. North Yarmouth’s is to increase by more than $296,000, to nearly $5 million.

The School Board voted last year to close the Drowne Road School and use it for other purposes, and to move third grade to the Mabel I. Wilson School. The building will revert back to the town.

SAD 51 administrators have said closing Drowne Road School will save more than $244,000 next year. The 17,600-square-foot building has been proposed to be reused as a senior housing/community center as part of the Village Green Revitalization Master Plan.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. 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.