Voters in Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago approved the proposed School Administrative District 61 budget Tuesday.

The $29.37 million budget passed 347-182, with the majority of voters in all four towns approving the measure.

The new budget increased $272,182 from this fiscal year, or less than 1 percent.  The four towns will contribute approximately $26 million to the schools, with $3.4 million coming from state subsidy and additional revenue streams.

Due to changes in the town’s valuation and the funding formula determined by the state, residents of Bridgton and Casco will see increases in the school portion of their property taxes, while Naples and Sebago residents will see decreases.

The budget was designed by the district’s leadership team to be a needs-based budget, according to Financial Coordinator Sherrie Small. The original proposal included $676,038 in new staffing, which was decreased to $150,000 by the Finance Committee.

There is approximately a $400,00 increase for regular instruction, and a $180,000 decrease for special education due to changes in staffing levels and contractual and benefit increases for some staff.

Superintendent Al Smith said the district had “a very solid budget. We had a lot of nice opportunities in there for kids in the future yet we were able to maintain a less than 1% increase, so obviously that boded well also with the voters.”

Smith said he was “very happy” with the results, and to see “people of all communities voting favorably for the education of our kids.”

During the summer, Smith said, the district plans to construct a four-classroom portable at Songo Locks Elementary School, to alleviate overcrowding at the school. The portables will be paid for from the year-end capital reserve funds, Smith said.

The towns also approved Question 2, which asked whether the district wants to continue the budget validation referendum process. This means the towns will continue to hold a secret ballot vote to give the budget final approval following the school budget meeting.

The district votes on whether to continue the budget validation referendum every three years. The measure passed 343-181, with the majority of voters in all four towns approving the measure.

The Superintendent’s Office on Portland Road in Bridgton

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