PORTLAND — School board members have asked Superintendent Jim Morse to address clarity and accuracy problems in the $92.7 million school budget proposal that’s scheduled for a finance committee vote tonight.

The committee expects to see a detailed accounting of $3.9 million in proposed budget cuts and $1.6 million in recommended spending increases, said Jaimey Caron, committee chairman.

The committee also wants to know how the superintendent plans to spend a $1.2 million surplus from the 2009-10 school budget and $2 million remaining from last year’s federal jobs bill allocation, Caron said.

Faced with a $6 million reduction in state and federal aid in the coming school year, Morse has proposed a budget starting July 1 that would eliminate 84 positions across the district.

“Right now, there are a lot of moving parts in this budget that aren’t very clear,” Caron said. “It’s hard to see how it all fits together.”

The committee will meet at 5 p.m. in Room 321 at Portland Arts and Technology High School.

Under Morse’s budget proposal, 23 positions would be eliminated because of declining enrollment, 18 because of program changes and 43 because of revenue reductions. District enrollment is projected to drop from 7,032 to 6,917 students.

Morse also plans to reduce the $2.3 million adult education budget by $488,000, largely by replacing 8.5 contracted teaching positions with hourly instructors.

The district has just under 1,200 employees and eliminated more than 50 positions last year in passing the current budget.

Morse’s proposal would add three multilingual teachers and two elementary world language teachers, plus three grant-funded preschool classes through public-private partnerships.

It also includes about $1 million for salary step and professional-development increases, and $336,000 for requested paid sabbaticals. Both are subject to ongoing contract negotiations.

The proposed budget would increase the amount to be raised from property taxes by nearly $2.7 million — about 4 percent — from $67.4 million for this year to $70 million for 2011-12.

That would add an estimated 36 cents to the city’s tax rate of $17.92 per $1,000 of assessed property value, and increase the annual tax bill on a $200,000 home by $72.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget March 29 and present it to the City Council on April 4. A referendum on the budget will be held May 10.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]