Portland’s school board unanimously approved a $103.6 million budget Tuesday night for the fiscal year beginning July 1, sending it to the City Council for consideration.

The council will consider the school district’s budget on Monday, and the council’s recommendation will go to voters in a referendum May 10.

Overall, the $103.6 million budget is a 0.8 percent increase, $826,227, over the current budget, which ends June 30.

The increase would add 21 cents per $1,000 to Portland’s property tax rate – totaling $63 on the annual tax bill for a $300,000 home. By comparison, the 2015-16 school budget added just 1 cent per $1,000 to the tax rate – $3 for a $300,000 home.

“I believe this is a budget that represents our comprehensive plan,” said board member Anna Trevorrow, noting that the district had to respond quickly to changing budget figures from the state. “(The district’s staff) made financially responsible decisions while keeping true to the priorities of the district.”

Earlier this year, school officials were surprised by a decrease in state funding – a $2.7 million drop from last year’s allocation. But Portland has recovered about $1.3 million since then, since Gov. Paul LePage and legislative leaders struck a compromise to add $15 million in education funding to the state budget.

Under the compromise, the state allocation to Portland is now $15.6 million, about 15 percent of the total budget.

But lawmakers are still considering a bill that could change the amount of state aid to Portland and other districts.

L.D. 281 would give more state aid to struggling mill towns but would force the state to reallocate education funds again, because no money would be added for overall education funding. Final language for the bill has not been presented, so state officials say it remains unclear what the potential financial impact will be.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

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Twitter: noelinmaine


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