The Scarborough Town Council gave final approval late Wednesday to a reduced school budget, setting the stage for a third townwide vote on education spending.

Town voters will go back to the polls Sept. 5 to consider the new school spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year. The fiscal year began July 1, but the school department is operating under the previous budget until a new one is ratified by voters.

Voters may start voting by absentee ballot at town hall Thursday.

The latest proposal represents a $47.2 million operating budget for education, which is $1.3 million, or 2.9 percent, higher than last year’s budget. It would mean a property tax rate increase of 2.91 percent.

Town councilors have twice reduced the spending proposal after earlier versions were rejected by voters. They trimmed $50,000 from the school budget after a July 25 referendum ended in a 1,930 to 1,847 vote against a revised spending plan, which included a $236,000 reduction from the original school budget proposal and a $71,000 reduction in the municipal budget.

If the revised budget passes, it will be up to the school board to determine how the $50,000 budget reduction would impact school programs.

Under the 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.

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