A new $43.5 million school budget was approved by Scarborough voters last week, the third time residents went to the polls this summer in an attempt to adopt a spending package for the new fiscal year.

“I’m pleased that the community finally came together and made a decision,” Donna Beeley, chairwoman of the Board of Education, said this week.

With a new budget the “district can now move forward,” she added. Although it was a tumultuous approval process, Beeley said she was pleased to see that in the end “a wide coalition of people supported the schools.”

And Stacey Neumann, spokeswoman for the group, Supporters of Scarborough Schools, said, “We believe this vote validates the community’s commitment to funding high quality schools for the benefit of all our citizens.”

She also said, “Strong, well-funded schools provide great opportunities for our students, increase our property values and create a sense of community pride. Scarborough citizens have made their voices heard – proper school funding must be a priority.”

On June 9 voters rejected a $43.8 million budget as being too high, and on July 7 a $43.3 million budget was also voted down as being too low.

According to figures provided prior to the Aug. 4 referendum, Scarborough residents could see a 44-cent increase in the tax rate per $1,000 of valuation, when the municipal, school and county budgets are combined.

Last week’s vote was 1,679 in favor to 1,053 against, according to the Town Clerk’s office, which also said voter turnout represented 18 percent of registered voters.

Moving forward, Beeley said it would be up to the school board to ensure “we’re clear about the needs and what is actually in the school budget.”


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