GORHAM — Superintendent Heather Perry’s preliminary proposed school budget is $46.3 million, up $3.6 million, or 8.46%, from $42.7 million for the current school year.

The proposed budget would raise the town taxpayers’ share of supporting Gorham education $2.06 per thousand dollars of property valuation from $12.62 to $14.68, a 16.33% increase according to the budget summary. The rate is based on a projected $15 million increase in total town evaluation.

Taxes to only support education on a home valued at $300,000 would be $4,404, up $618 up from this year’s $3,786. It does not include the tax amount to run the municipality.

Perry handed her initial budget to the School Committee last week, and it will examine Perry’s proposed budget in an all-day meeting on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Perry said in a Feb. 10 letter to the School Committee that it meets the requirements outlined by the board members: “The guidance provided by the School Committee to the administrative team was to bring forward a budget proposal we felt we needed in order to best prepare our schools for the continued impacts of COVID-19 and to operate our school system in a manner that continues to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.”

The operational budget increases 8.53% under her proposal, Perry said.

A budget priority, Perry wrote, was ensuring that the school district would be prepared for “yet unknown” impacts of COVID-19 on the district’s schools. A “new initiative” increase accounts for $1.07 million for academic and social-emotional learning connected to COVID-19.

Also connected with COVID-19 is an increase of $120,000 in local money to support the schools’ nutrition program.

Perry said her proposed budget also reflects a “status quo” budget increase for existing employees with an estimated 10% hike in health insurance premiums totaling $1.3 million.

Other budget drivers include $100,000 in approved new lease/bond payments and $200,000 in capital improvements for facilities.

The state subsidy to Gorham is expected to rise $432,414 from $17.9 million to $18.4 million.

A final school budget will require both School Committee and Town Council approval in addition to a voter referendum.

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