Voters from four towns Tuesday rejected the $26.1 million budget proposed for School Administrative District 61.

The 2011-12 budget, which proposed a 3.6 percent increase over the current year’s budget, was defeated by fewer than 10 votes in Bridgton and Naples and by about 40 votes in both Casco and Sebago.

The votes against the budget were: in Bridgton, 153-147; in Naples, 94-87; in Casco, 112-73; in Sebago, 114-73.

Superintendent Patrick Phillips said it is the first time voters have rejected the district’s budget in the three years since the Maine Department of Education instituted the budget validation process, in which residents vote on the bottom line.

Before then, he said, the budget was broken down into about 20 articles, and residents voted on each one.

“The difficult part of this kind of a budget process is that we don’t get anything specific in the way of feedback from voters,” he said.

Though school officials will have to guess how much voters want trimmed from the budget, Phillips said, he knows that more positions will have to be eliminated.

The equivalent of 11.5 positions were eliminated in the proposed budget, he said.

Phillips said he plans to meet with administrators this morning to talk about additional cuts. The SAD 61 Board of Directors will have a special meeting Monday to start figuring out how to move forward, he said. Residents will have to vote again.

“We just have to roll up our sleeves and figure out what voters want,” Phillips said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]