Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PORTLAND — Voters today in a citywide referendum approved the school system's $94.2 million budget for the upcoming school year, by a margin of 64 percent to 36 pecent.
Exactly 1,000 voters approved the budget and 562 voters rejected it.
Turnout was very low, with just over 3 percent of the city’s 48,528 voters going to the polls.
State law requires school districts to hold referendums for final budget approval by a majority of voters.
The budget provides $4.7 million in additional spending over the current school budget, an increase of 5.3 percent.
The budget includes the expansion of Spanish language programs at elementary schools and $100,000 for two new early-education classrooms as part of a partnership with the Catherine Morrill Day Nursery and the federal Head Start program. The classes would be at the Longfellow and Riverton schools.
It also includes a $71,000 increase for English language courses run by Portland Adult Education. Those courses have had a surge in enrollment in recent years, and have a waiting list of 160 people. The additional funding would cut the waiting list in half.