GORHAM – The Gorham School Committee last week passed a $34,152,140 school spending plan that includes an all-day kindergarten program for the first time.

“We’ve put a fiscally responsible budget together this year,” School Committee Chairman Dennis Libby said.

Libby said including all-day kindergarten in the budget was the right thing and it is costing money.

“The final cost of adding all-day K is $536,186,” School Department Finance Director Hollis Cobb said this week.

The approved budget is for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The budget, which passed in a 5-1 School Committee vote (John Doyle opposed and Kyle Bailey absent), will be discussed in a joint workshop with the Town Council at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13, in the Gorham Municipal Center.

The school budget jumps up from $32.9 million for this year. Cobb said the approved budget increases the tax rate per $1,000 of evaluation to support schools from $11.22 to $11.40, an 18 cent hike representing a 1.62 per cent increase.

The Town Council will hold a hearing on the schools’ budget on June 3. Following approval by the Town Council, town voters will consider the budget in a referendum set for June 10.

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