Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana shaved his proposed school budget by $1.1 million without cutting academic programs or teachers, bringing the tax impact below 5 percent.

Most of the cuts are to the central office, and will involve some positions being eliminated, not filling vacant positions and reorganization, Botana told the Board of Education’s finance committee at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

The committee requested a reduced budget because his initial $107 million budget would have increased the education portion of property taxes by 6.5 percent. The revised $105.6 million budget lowers the tax impact to 4.74 percent.

“For me, this is doing a lot to really protect against cuts and keep (cuts) away from the classroom,” committee member Jenna Vendil said. The school board and city council must approve the budget, which then goes to voters.

The revised budget includes $100,000 reductions each to finance, human relations, academics and administration; and a $335,000 reduction to operations. Botana said he did not have details on how those departments would make the cuts, but anticipated that positions would be cut in HR, finance and administration, but not in academics.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s a place we believe we have the ability to take those cuts,” he said.

Botana was hired in May and this is his first budget proposal for the Portland school district, the largest in the state.

The $105.6 million budget proposal is a 2 percent increase from the current $103.6 million budget.

Botana noted that district expenditures were up 4.5 percent from the previous budget, 80 percent due to a $3.8 million increase in salary and benefits. At the same time, Portland’s state allocation is down $2 million from last year under Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed budget, which is still being debated by the legislature.

If Portland gets another $1 million from the state, the tax impact would decrease to 3.5 percent, Botana said.

Other reductions include:

n $85,000: Reducing a salary increase to non-represented employees, mostly central office staff, from 3.5 percent to 1 percent.

n $75,000: Reducing a classroom at Presumpscot Elementary School because of enrollment projections.

n $50,000: Removing an erroneous reference to adding another pre-k class. The district, which has seven pre-k classes and has been adding classes, is not adding a class in 2017-18 as it evaluates the program.

n $112,500: Reducing costs in world languages at the district’s three high schools, without cutting any language program or staff.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

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