CASCO — School Administrative District 61 finally has a spending plan for the coming school year.

Voters approved the district’s $26.6 million budget on Tuesday, after rejecting the same figure in a referendum in June.

Tuesday’s referendum was the third held on the 2011-12 budget for the district, which comprises Casco, Sebago, Naples and Bridgton. In May, voters rejected A $26.8 million proposal.

The budget that went to voters Tuesday passed, 906-820. The voter turnout was about twice what it was for the last two budget votes.

As in the last referendum, voters in Bridgton and Naples approved the budget, while Casco and Sebago residents turned it down.

The votes were: in Bridgton, 378-287 in favor; in Naples, 264-199 in favor; in Casco, 191-181 opposed; in Sebago, 143-83 opposed.

Paul Mitch, a maintenance worker for the town of Casco who set up the voting booths at the town’s community center, voted against the budget in all three referendums.

He said he feels the district must learn to spend money more effectively.

Ray Grant, a Casco selectman, also voted against the budget Tuesday. He said he wanted to see it cut by at least another $200,000.

After the second referendum, the SAD 61 Board of Directors voted to reduce the budget by $75,000. At a district budget meeting last week, however, residents voted to restore the funding.

Megan Wandishin, 19, who grew up in Casco and attended SAD 61 schools, said she voted in favor of the budget because she thought more cuts could have a negative effect on the quality of education.

Wandishin, who’s now a student at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, said she was looking out for her brother, an eighth-grader, and her sister, a high school senior, as well as her mother, a teacher in the district.

“It’s something that hits close to home,” she said.


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