Across Scarborough are signs decrying a “7.4% Increase” and urging a “no” vote on the school budget Tuesday.

So, is Scarborough in for a big tax increase or not? Speaking as one town councilor, I’d like to share the facts.

There is no 7.4 percent tax increase or 7.4 percent cost increase. The school budget has a 3.39 percent overall increase in costs from last year. The town increased costs 2.2 percent. The combined town and school budget projects an estimated 3.49 percent property tax increase, with a reasonable chance that it will be below 3 percent if Augusta will adopt a state budget that properly funds education, as Mainers have repeatedly voted for.

The problem is not excessive spending by our schools. Scarborough has a school system that is among the best in the region with one of the lowest per-pupil costs. Good schools are also the single most important factor in maintaining high property values, the benefit of which dwarfs any tax increase. The problem is Augusta. Scarborough lost another $1.4 million in school funding this year and $5 million in recent years.

The budget was scrutinized for months by a dedicated team of councilors and Board of Education members and adopted unanimously by both boards. Against great obstacles, it meets our commitment to strive for low, predictable tax rates in the 3 percent or less range.

Bill Donovan