The Scarborough Town Council trimmed an additional $50,000 from the school budget Wednesday night and scheduled a third validation referendum for Sept. 5, hoping that a slightly reduced $47.2 million spending plan will win town voters’ support.

A slim majority of voters rejected a second iteration of a 2017-18 school budget on July 25. The tally was 1,930 to 1,847 against a revised spending plan that cut $236,000 from the school budget and $71,000 from the municipal budget. Town officials are wagering that the latest reduction will be enough to close the 83-vote gap.

“We’re basically nibbling around the edges at this point,” Town Manager Tom Hall said Thursday.

The revised $47.2 million school budget proposal is still about $1.3 million, or 2.9 percent, higher than the current budget, but it would trim 2 cents off the proposed property tax rate increase, from 48 cents (2.99 percent) to 46 cents (2.91 percent).

It will be up to the school board to determine how the $50,000 budget reduction would impact school programs. The council is scheduled to adopt the revised school budget proposal on Aug. 16. Town voters may start voting by absentee ballot at town hall on Aug. 17.

Under the newly revised school budget, the overall property tax rate would increase from $15.92 to $16.38 per $1,000 in assessed property value. The annual tax bill on a $300,000 home would increase $138, from $4,776 to $4,914.

This is fifth time in 10 years that town voters have failed to approve a school budget on the first ballot. Opponents used social media, robo calls and lawn signs to campaign against the spending plan, specifically against the use of $2.1 million in surplus funds and an increase in the amount of property taxes to be raised for schools.

The initial $47.4 million school budget proposal was rejected June 13 by 57 percent of town voters. It was part of an overall $84.5 million operating budget for municipal, school and county services that would have increased overall spending by $2.5 million, or 3 percent, in the fiscal year starting July 1.

With Wednesday’s $50,000 proposed reduction, the overall operating budget for fiscal 2018 would be $84.2 million, resulting in a total spending increase of about $2.1 million, or 2.6 percent.

Hall said town officials recognize that voters have valid budget concerns, especially in a community where the senior population is growing and the school-age population isn’t. The council plans to consider different approaches to preparing budgets next year, likely comparing Scarborough’s process and spending levels to other towns and developing multi-year budget projections.

“At the end of the day, this is a good budget,” Hall said. “That’s the thing that’s most confounding. We had a good, open budget process, yet we’re still struggling.”