Saturday, March 8, 2014
Falmouth school officials presented a $29.3 million budget proposal Friday, calling for a nearly 12 percent increase over this school year's spending.
The first debt payment on the new Falmouth Elementary School accounts for just over 5 percent of the proposed 11.9 percent spending increase for the 2012-13 school year, say Superintendent Barbara Powers and Finance Director Dan O'Shea.
"We would encourage that this part of the budget be considered outside our operating budget proposal as it was already taxpayer approved," Powers and O'Shea said in a written overview delivered to the School Board on Friday afternoon.
Powers and O'Shea identified three causes for the remaining 6.8 percent spending increase:
• A $650,000 reduction in federal revenue and state Medicaid reimbursements.
• A 2.25 percent negotiated cost-of-living salary increase for teachers.
• Fifty additional students, pushing total enrollment to 2,151.
The budget proposed for the year that starts July 1 is $3.1 million more than the $26.2 million spending plan for the 2011-12 school year.
Falmouth's state education aid is expected to increase $1.5 million -- from $6 million to $7.5 million -- because of the enrollment increase and a decrease in property values.
However, most of the aid increase is earmarked for elementary school construction debt, which will push the district's total debt payments from $3 million this year to $4.4 million in 2012-13.
If the School Board and Town Council make no cuts, the school budget will add 70 cents to the town's property tax rate of $12.92 per $1,000 value. The annual tax bill on a $300,000 home would increase $210.
The school budget added 55 cents to the tax rate this year, but it had no impact in fiscal 2010-11 and 2009-10.
Town Manager Nathan Poore proposed an $11 million municipal budget earlier this week, calling for a 3 percent spending increase in fiscal 2012-13. For the fourth year in a row, the municipal budget would add nothing to the tax rate.
The municipal share of the current $12.92 tax rate would hold steady at $3. The school's share is $9.36 and the county's share is 56 cents, according to the town assessor's website.
The Town Council and the School Board will hold a joint budget meeting at 3 p.m. March 27 in the council chamber.
A public hearing on both budgets will be held April 11, followed by a council vote on April 23 and a townwide referendum on the school budget June 12.
Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: