Portland voters on Tuesday approved the proposed $103.6 million education budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Voters were asked two questions at the polls. The first asked if they supported the education budget. They did so, 921-558.

Voters also got to choose whether Portland will continue to have citywide referendum votes on school budgets for the next three years. Maine school districts must ask this questions every three years. Voters approved that measure 802-676.

“I’m very pleased the people of Portland have passed the school budget,” Mayor Ethan Strimling said in a statement Tuesday night. “The priorities this budget funds will meet the needs of our schoolchildren this year and expand pre-K for 16 more pre-schoolers.”

Maine’s School Reorganization Law requires all school districts to hold annual referendums for approval of their budgets. Education budgets have to be approved by a majority of voters, but if voters reject the first referendum, the budgets are sent back to school boards for revisions.

The 2016-2017 budget represents a 0.8 percent increase, or $826,227, from the current budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30. It contains about $1.4 million less in state education aid than the district received for the current fiscal year. The state allocation to Portland is now $15.6 million, about 15 percent of the total budget.


Portland’s education budget would require a 2 percent tax rate increase and add 21 cents to the city’s property tax rate, or $21 per $100,0000 of the assessed value of a Portland home.

The City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on the other major piece of the city budget – the spending plan for municipal services, ranging from fire and police to public health. Discussions about the municipal side of the budget have been dominated by a proposal to close the city’s India Street Public Health Center.

If the municipal spending is also approved, the overall city budget would increase property taxes by 2.4 percent, bringing the tax rate up to $21.12 per $1,000 of assessed value, from $20.63. That would result in a $147 property tax increase on a home with an assessed value of $300,000.

Tax increases in each of the last three years have ranged from 3 percent to 3.1 percent.

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