A new full-day kindergarten program in Gorham accounts for nearly half of the $1.2 million increase in the school department’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting in July.

Residents will vote Tuesday on the $34.2 million budget, which was unanimously endorsed by the Town Council this week. The proposed budget represents a 3.75 percent increase from the current budget and would raise the tax rate by 22 cents, adding $55 to the annual tax bill on a $250,000 home.

The upgrade from half-day to full-day kindergarten, a program that parents have been demanding for years, would cost $536,000.

Other budget additions include $440,000 for capital projects and security, $111,000 for charter school tuition, and $87,500 for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics program at the high school, said Hollis Cobb, the department’s finance director. More than $150,000 is being saved by not filling positions vacated by teacher retirements, he said.

The district has 2,666 students in five schools.


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