Saco residents will have the final say Tuesday on a nearly $40.5 million school budget proposal.

Last month, the Saco City Council approved a $28.8 million municipal budget and proposed a nearly $40.5 million school budget, which is about 3 percent higher than the current school budget of  $39.3 million.

If the school budget is approved by voters Tuesday, combined municipal and school spending would raise the current tax rate by an estimated 11 cents to $19.49 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 0.6 percent. An 11-cent tax rate increase would add $22 to the annual property tax bill on a home assessed at $200,000.

Broken down, county taxes will raise the rate by 1 cent, while the municipal budget will raise the rate by 68 cents. These increases are offset by the school budget, which decreases the rate by 58 cents.

The proposed school budget approved by the City Council is nearly $1.4 million less than the school budget the school board presented to the council.

Part of the reduction – $290,0000 – was from insurance costs being lower than projected.

The rest of the reduction – $1.1 million – was proposed by Councilor Nathan Johnston, who said the school department had a surplus because of over-budgeting money to Thornton Academy, remaining special education funding and $150,000 in unused contingency funds.

Although last month’s vote was the final say on the municipal budget, the school budget needs approval at citywide vote Tuesday. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Center located at 75 Franklin St.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at

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