SCARBOROUGH—Local taxpayer watchdog group Scarborough Maine Advocates for Reasonable Taxes is urging voters to reject the town’s $53.3 million school budget at the polls on July 14.

The group said the town should not support a budget that leads to any kind of increase for taxpayers. If the public approves the school budget at the July 14 referendum, the combined impact to the tax rate will be a 1.24% increase, of which 1% is being driven by the schools. The combined town/school budget equals an increase of 18 cents, or $45 for the owner of a $250,000 home.

In a prepared release, SMARTaxes cited concerns about economic impacts of the pandemic, along with an increase in property taxes due to a recent revaluation by the town.

The group said leadership on the school side “decided to go with the business-as-usual approach,” and supported “a new teachers’ contract that will provide an average salary increase of 4.8% next year and 15% over the three years of the contract.”

“At a time when many Scarborough residents are struggling with lost jobs, reduced work hours, loss of incomes and the financial uncertainty of a recession, these raises seem insensitive at best,” the group wrote.