The Gorham School Department’s $44.2 million budget for the upcoming school year passed easily Tuesday.

Voters approved the budget 439-215, representing a 67.2% voter approval rating.

“The Gorham Schools continue to be thankful to the community of Gorham for their support of our public schools,” Superintendent Heather Perry said Wednesday. “It has been a challenging year for everyone, but together we have persevered and with the passage of our FY 22 budget, we can now turn our full attention to moving forward with plans to re-open our schools for the fall of 2021 to five day per week instruction for all students across grades K-12.”

The school budget is up $1.5 million, or 3.6%, from this year’s $42.7 million budget. The School Committee’s initial budget proposal was for $44.5 million, but the Town Council pared it back $300,000 last week before sending it to voters.

Wages and benefits add up to $35 million, representing 78.7% of the total budget.

The budget raises the education portion of the property tax rate 42 cents from $12.62 per thousand of assessed valuation to $13.04.

The school budget coupled with the approved $18.3 million municipal budget raises the town’s tax rate 64 cents to $18.85 from $18.21 per $1,000 of assessed value. The tax bill for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $300,000 would rise $192 from $5,463 to $5,655.

Voters in Ward 1-1, approved the school budget 146-64; Ward 1-2, 77-31; and Ward 2, 200-87. Absentee ballots were 33-16 against the budget.

The school budget was the only item on the Gorham ballot.

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