FALMOUTH — Voters are being asked to approve a nearly $36.7 million school budget in a June 11 referendum.

If passed, residents would see a 52-cent increase in the tax rate per $1,000 of valuation when combined with municipal spending.

Voting will take place 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at Falmouth High School on June 11. Absentee voting is now available. Call the town clerk’s office at 699-5305 for more information, including registering to vote.

The Town Council passed the proposed school budget with little comment April 22, although Councilor Andrea Ferrante voted against the combined school and municipal spending package that totals $53.9 million.

Superintendent of Schools Geoff Bruno this week said the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget is designed to “maximize our resources to best serve the needs of our school community,” while strengthening student learning with the support of several new positions.

The School Department plans to add a second principal and a new kindergarten teacher at Falmouth Elementary School and a new world language teacher at the middle school.

Bruno said a second principal is needed at Falmouth Elementary to help “build stronger connections and relationships with students, families, and staff as we find better ways to govern the largest elementary school in Maine.”

He said the proposed school budget is grounded in “our core beliefs and practices” and is guided by the School Department’s strategic plan, known as the Falmouth Compass.

When putting together the school budget, Bruno said the leadership team reviews current programs, looks at specific building-level needs and thoroughly discusses requests for new spending.

Starting in January, he said, the leadership team works with the School Board during monthly workshops and finance meetings “to fine tune requests and construct the budget piece by piece.”

At the same time, Bruno said, the School Department works with municipal leaders “to outline priorities and find ways to assist one another in making the best use of town resources to serve our residents.”

There was also a public hearing on the proposed school budget in April.

Overall, Bruno said the school budget was created in “a transparent and collaborative process” and that the spending package is specifically designed to help students “develop their own unique interests and abilities.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

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