2017-06-14 / Front Page

School budgets see approval in York County

Staff Writers

YORK COUNTY — School budget validation ballots across the county were cast Tuesday, with favorable outcomes projected for most.

In Old Orchard Beach, voters overwhelmingly passed the Regional School Unit 23 budget 340-144.

RSU 23 includes only Old Orchard Beach.

The $13.8 million RSU 23 budget for fiscal year 2018 marks a 3 percent increase from the current year’s budget.

The budget eliminates 9 1/2 educational technician positions districtwide as well as the assistant principal position at Loranger Memorial School. It also includes the addition of a director of instruction, a behavioral specialist, two academic interventionists and a guidance counselor.

The RSU 23 budget also includes funding for playground equipment, a boiler for Jameson School and leases for three buses and three vans. The budget also provides funds to cover a loss of state funding for pre-Kindergarten.

In Biddeford, just 514 voters cast their ballots for the school budget validation, despite having more than 14,000 registered voters. But those who turned out overwhelmingly supported at $35.7 million school budget, which passed with 379 “yes” votes and 134 votes in opposition. 

Those totals were updated early this morning, after City Clerk Carmen Morris said 50 hand-counted school budget validation ballots were mistakenly left out of the totals late Tuesday night.

The budget is projected to add about $41,600 in local taxes, resulting in a 0.19 percent increase in the city’s mil rate. Residents were also surveyed if they believed the budget was too high or not, with 128 saying it was and 24 saying it was too low.

The budget, just over a half million dollars more than last year’s budget, includes nearly $13.4 million for regular instruction and just under $6 million for special education. System administration will cost just over $1 million, and school administration just over $1.5 million. 

Included in the budget is funding for a pre-Kindergarten program to be implemented at the John F. Kennedy Memorial School.

In Saco, voters passed a $35.7 million fiscal year 2018 school budget by a clear margin, according to reports from local city officials. The school budget, which was approved by the Saco City Council is about $650,000 less than the original budget proposed by the school board.

About $450,000 of that reduction came from a reduction in health care costs. The remaining $200,000 cut came from the city council. The reductions made by the city council, which were opposed by the school board, includes reduction of one teacher by articulation, a decrease of $81,000 in the technology department by eliminating a data management position and lowering the administration department's budget by $44,000.

Complete election results for the $40.8 million school budget from Regional School Unit 57, covering Lyman, Newfield, Alfred, Limerick, Shapleigh and Waterboro were not in by press time. The budget passed 81-36 in Shapleigh, 84-44 in Limerick, 147-94 in Alfred and 379-279 in Waterboro. A passing vote from the total number of votes in the six communities is needed for the budget to pass.

Voters in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel approved a near $45.8 million budget for Regional School District 21, which educates students in the three towns. In Arundel, 173 voted in favor of the budget, with 72 voting against it. In Kennebunk, the budget passed 1,170-514 and, in neighboring Kennebunkport, voters approved the budget 329-98.

This story will be updated to reflect election totals in RSU 57 as they come in.

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