NORTH YARMOUTH — Next year’s proposed School Administrative District 51 budget could add $204 to the tax bill of a $300,000 home in Cumberland and $159 to a similarly valued home in North Yarmouth.

Taxes in each town could rise 3.2%, up from no increase last year.

The $40.3 million spending plan for fiscal year 2021, unveiled by Superintendent Jeff Porter on Monday, reflects a 4.96% hike. Most of the $1.9 million increase includes $1.2 million in staff salary and benefit raises, along with a $387,500 increase in debt service, primarily due to the first principal payment on the district’s new Greely Center for the Arts. A fourth modular classroom building, costing about $142,000, is to be added at the Mabel I. Wilson elementary school, where student enrollment of 692 has surpassed capacity by nearly 100.

Other additions include four special educational technicians, in compliance with new Individual Education Program requirements ($140,000); district-wide safety upgrades recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ($65,000); a part-time kindergarten educational technician ($35,000); and potentially an additional kindergarten teacher at the Wilson school ($65,000).

Budget reductions include eliminating a community development manager ($66,000) and a teacher at both Greely High ($69,000) and Middle ($65,000) schools, due to slightly decreased class sizes.

Largely offsetting expenses is $11.96 million the district is projected to receive in state aid to education, about $140,000 more than last year. But the district learned Monday that due to the economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the state has not been collecting the revenue it had expected in recent weeks and not as much money may be available in subsidies to districts, Porter said.

“We should prepared for a … loss of possible aid going into next year,” he said.

If that happens, “we’re looking at ways to utilize some savings … or some unexpended balances out of this year’s budget that would create a fund balance going forward that would help us offset any revenue loss next year,” Finance Director Scott Poulin said. “So we’re already planning for that.”

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, April 27, and the School Board’s adoption of the spending plan is set for Monday, May 4; both could be virtual meetings. Those dates, along with the May 21 district budget meeting and June 9 budget validation referendum – at which residents vote on the budget – are subject to change, depending on the state of the pandemic by then, Porter said.

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