CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved a combined $42 million town and school budget that represents a 6.5% spending increase over this year.

It bumps the tax rate nearly 3.9%, from $19.02 to $19.76 per $1,000 of valuation, for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The school budget, which shows a 5.9% increase from this year’s $25.4 million spending plan to $26.9 million for fiscal year 2020 and accounts for 72.7% of the tax rate, now goes to voters in a June 11 validation referendum.

Included in the school budget is a negotiated salary and benefits package for staff, according to Superintendent Donna Wolfrom. It also incorporates funds to assess facility needs, a generator project, and added hours for new full-time teachers.

“We’ve put together a budget that shows collaboration, which I think our community greatly values and greatly deserves,” School Board Chairwoman Susana Measelle Hubbs said Monday.

The 74-cent increase would add $222 to the bill for a home valued at $300,000 and an additional $370 for a home valued at $400,000.

The School Board, Town Council and Superintendent began discussing the fiscal year 2020 budget last fall at the start of the school year. Starting the conversation around the budget early in the process ensured there weren’t surprises when the council came to vote, Town Manager Matt Sturgis said.

Chairman James Garvin applauded Wolfrom and the School Board for “balancing the difficult task of meeting needs with being respectful and mindful of what those needs and burdens place on the Cape Elizabeth taxpayers.”

“This process was so good, so positive, so open,” Councilor Penelope Jordan said. “This school budget is one of the first school budgets in a long time that I see addresses the needs of all students and I think it’s a reflection of our new superintendent.”


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