September 4, 2013

Portlanders voting today on school budget changes

Voters are being asked to approve $1.9 million in additional spending so the district can use a higher-than-expected state subsidy to restore positions.

By Noel K. Gallagher
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Portland residents are at the polling stations today to vote on a $1.9 million supplemental school budget referendum.

“Passage of the referendum is critically important,” said Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk in a release. If it fails, “we will be forced to cut $1.4 million from our current year’s budget, which would require major staff reductions.”

The Legislature increased Portland's subsidy by $1.9 million before its session ended. That prompted the school department to propose budget changes and go back to the city's voters for another approval referendum.

The school department plans to use $1.3 million to pay for teacher retirement costs that were shifted from the state to the district, $20,336 to pay for two additional students to attend the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science charter school – there are nine students total – and $523,483 to restore eight staff positions that had been cut from the budget, according to Caulk.

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