Yarmouth schools propose 3.5% budget increase

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YARMOUTH — The proposed fiscal 2018 school budget presented to the Town Council by the School Board is up almost 3.5 percent and keeps staff hiring level.

The projected total operating budget is $23.9 million, up $798,000 from the approved 2017 school budget. The current budget approved by voters last June is $23.1 million.

School Committee Chairwoman Laura Coroi and its finance leader Leah Guay reviewed the budget March 16 with councilors.

It shows student enrollment continues to rise. About 42 students across kindergarten and high school may register for school in Yarmouth next year. For 2018, student enrollment may reach 1,642 students across all grades.

Per-pupil cost is also on the rise, nearly $12,000 in 2008 to about $13,750 in 2016. That expenditure peaked in 2014, at $14,000, school figures show.

Coroi said Yarmouth schools remain a star among all Maine public schools. Its students continuously score at the highest levels of standardized tests. And the district, she said, is praised by state leaders for its efficient operation and use of financial resources. 

The lion’s share of the 2018 budget is due to staff salary and benefits.

Town Councilor Randall Bates poked the proverbial elephant in the room about future school building needs. A facility study may soon be underway, Superintendent of Schools Andrew Dolloff said.

Three budget hearings are scheduled by the Town Council for March 30, April 6, and May 4. All hearings will begin at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Log Cabin, 196 Main St.  

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.