Residents of Cumberland and North Yarmouth will vote on a proposed $38.4 million school budget for fiscal year 2020.

The School Administrative District 51 spending plan, up 2.84 percent from last year, would have no impact on property tax rates. It now goes to two public votes: a district budget meeting Thursday and a budget validation referendum June 11.

The original budget was expected to increase 2.66 percent. But a hike in anticipated kindergarten enrollment – from around 130 four years ago to more than 160 now – prompted the School Board Finance Committee to recommend adding a new teacher for that grade at a cost of about $67,000, including benefits.

A state aid increase has largely offset $1.06 million in increased expenses. The district expects to receive $11.8 million in state aid – a $961,000 increase over fiscal year 2019, and the most SAD 51 has received since 2017. The subsidy still needs legislative approval.

A total of  $26.3 million remains to be assessed to the two towns. Cumberland’s share would be just less than $19 million, while North Yarmouth’s would be about $7.5 million.

Although the local share is up 1.09 percent, hikes in revenues and property valuations in the two towns offset that increase, resulting in no impact to either town’s tax rate.

Regular instruction, which consumes the largest portion of spending, totals $17.3 million, a 3.62 percent increase. Special education, totaling $6.9 million, is up 1.71 percent. Debt service is $2.8 million, a 3.77 percent hike attributed to payments for the new Greely Center for the Arts.

SAD 51 is also adding a $265,000 pre-kindergarten program.

Alex Lear – 780-9085

[email protected]

Twitter: @learics

Read this story in The Forecaster.