July 24, 2013

Portland board OKs second vote on school spending

The City Council must approve the referendum, which could be held as early as August.

By Noel K. Gallagher ngallagher@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The Portland School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend the City Council approve a second referendum on the school budget.

A second referendum is needed because the school district got about $1.9 million more in state funding than it expected. The extra money was a result of budget negotiations in the last session, which didn’t end until long after Portland – and all other Maine towns – had held legally required school budget votes.

The final state budget had $29 million more for schools than the original proposal from Gov. Paul LePage, so most towns underestimated their state funding. Now each town must hold a vote before they can spend the extra money.

In Portland, Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk recommends $1.3 million be used to pay for new teacher retirement costs that shifted from the state to the district, $523,000 to restore eight staff positions ranging from assistant principals to ed techs, and some money for additional charter school costs.

The council must approve the referendum, which could be held as early as August.

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