CAPE ELIZABETH – The School Board on Tuesday adopted a $20.7 million budget that would reduce staff by the equivalent of a little more than two full-time positions.

The budget would lead to a 2.75 percent property tax increase for the school portion of Cape Elizabeth’s budget. That translates to a school tax rate of $12.89 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 35 cents. The owner of a home valued at $253,800, the median for the town, would see an annual increase of $87.56.

“This was a compromise,” School Board member David Hillman said. “The bottom line is I think the schools need more I know we can’t afford to spend any less than what we have now.”

The net staff reduction will be the equivalent of 2.15 full-time positions.

A middle school teacher and part-time Mandarin and executive-skills teachers at the high school would be cut.

Other positions to be eliminated include two full-time education technicians at Pond Cove Elementary School, and part-time educational and computer-lab technicians and a part-time administrative-support worker at the middle school.

Staff additions include a full-time occupational therapy assistant and full-time high school education technician, and part-time middle school executive-functioning teacher, nurse and psychological services positions.

The budget also calls for increasing athletic fees and doubling student parking fees at the high school to $50 a year. Teachers and administrators are donating a total of $25,000 in salary to help.

While the budget won unanimous support from the School Board, some members said they remained concerned about taxpayers on fixed incomes.

“I am not as concerned about asking parents for fees because I consider them user fees,” Vice Chairwoman Katharine Ray said. “That’s something they can decide to do or not to do.”

The budget adopted Tuesday was a modified version of the middle option among three scenarios presented by Superintendent Alan Hawkins last month.

The lowest was a $20.2 million budget that would keep the tax rate flat and cut almost 13 jobs.

The highest was a $21 million option that would have maintained current staffing and services and increased taxes 5 percent.

The budget adopted Tuesday was similar to Hawkins’ middle option.

The school budget goes next to the Town Council’s Finance Committee.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]