SCARBOROUGH — Town and school officials are gearing up for the 2022 budget season, and while they say it won’t be easy, drastic moves such as putting town employees on partial unemployment or floating potential teacher layoffs don’t appear to be in the cards.

Town Manager Tom Hall said he’s still collecting proposed budgets from department heads, and he doesn’t expect to have them all until late February. He will spend March finalizing the town’s side of the budget before presenting to the Town Council on March 31. School Superintendent Sanford Prince IV will present the school’s budget at that time as well.

Hall noted that the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 forced officials throughout town to make some drastic cuts to the then-proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, which runs July 2020 to June 2021. In all, Hall said, he wound up cutting $635,000, and he worries his departments may try to include some of those funds in this year’s budget.

“A lot of what I know I’m going to see is a request to go back to where we were, and that’s going to be a challenge,” he said.

Last year, 77 town employees took part in a workshare program, meaning they had to apply for partial unemployment. On the school side, Prince presented cuts in a series of “tiers,” with the deepest cuts all but guaranteeing the loss of five “full-time equivalent” teaching positions at the high school, a fate the department ultimately avoided.

When asked this week whether municipal employees would need to use the partial unemployment program again Hall said, “It doesn’t appear that that’s going to be necessary.” He noted that happened last year for more than just financial reasons. At the time, he said, the pandemic forced Town Hall to close altogether, mandating employees work from home. Some who worked counter and customer service jobs weren’t able to work at all.

“It was all those factors together,” he said.

Prince said this week that he believed he would be able to avoid the possibility of layoffs this year. From the start, he said, the district knows it has to present a lean budget.

“We’re not coming in with a huge increase,” he said. “I think we’re taking a conservative approach.”

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