May 11, 2011

Voters approve school budgets in four districts

Spending is endorsed in Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.

By Dennis Hoey
Staff Writer

Voters voiced their opinions on education spending Tuesday, approving 2011-2012 school budgets in four Portland-area communities.

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Voters in Cape Elizabeth, Portland, Scarborough and South Portland endorsed their school budgets at school budget validation referendums -- an aspect of the school district consolidation law that requires voter consent on education spending.

The law gives voters the ability to reject a school budget if they disagree with how much money was appropriated or take issue with how the funds are going to be spent.

But, in all of the communities the margins of approval were comfortable. The budgets will become effective July 1.

In Portland, voters adopted an $89.5 million school budget that was approved by the City Council on May 2. The final vote was 1,249 in favor and 397 opposed, according to unofficial results from city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.

If the City Council approves a $201 million municipal budget later this month, city taxes will increase 2 percent.

In Scarborough, voters approved a $35.5 million school budget by an 856-753 vote. That budget was presented to voters after the Town Council reduced the School Board's budget on May 4 by $225,000.

According to the School Board's website, the revised budget will require the elimination of 19 full-time positions.

Scarborough's combined town and school budgets will increase taxes by 2.69 percent.

In South Portland, residents voted 2,458 in favor and 1,226 against adoption of a $42.8 million school budget that increases spending by 1 percent above last year's budget.

The budget eliminates seven custodial positions, an attendance clerk, an academic tutor, two academic support educational technicians and a half-time social studies teacher at the high school.

South Portland taxes are expected to increase by 2.74 percent.

In Cape Elizabeth, voters ratified a $21.1 million school budget by a margin of 1,837 to 686. The budget included a 0.5 percent salary increase for teachers in 2012, the first in a three-year contract with the Cape Elizabeth Education Association.

With the municipal budget that was approved last month, Cape Elizabeth property taxes will rise 2.4 percent.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:


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