Gorham property owners’ tax bills would go up 21.7% to support local education if the proposed school budget of nearly $50 million is approved.

The proposed $49.99 million spending plan for the next school year, representing an increase of $5.7 million or 12.95% over this year’s budget, is in the hands of the Gorham School Committee, which will vote on it next week.

The local taxpayer’s share would increase from $22.3 million to $27.4 million, representing an increase of about $5 million or 22.86%. It means the local tax rate, based on a projected valuation, would jump from $12.63 per thousand dollars of valuation to $15.37, an increase of $2.74 or 21.7%. That rate does not include any potential increases from the town budget, which has not been set.

Taxes to just support local education in Gorham for a property valued at $300,000 would jump up to $4,611 from $3,789, an $822 increase.

A budget summary shows the state’s expected general purpose aid increases from $18.9 million to $20.1 million, up $1.2 million or 6.56%.

Superintendent Heather Perry said the “status quo” costs of operating the schools next year at the same level as this year are up by $1.3 million.


New initiatives accounting for $1.5 million in the budget proposal include several new hires, including a full-time substitute nurse for the district, $45,000; eight special education technicians, $360,000; and a full-time transportation director, $70,000.

Other expenses include capital improvement increases for facilities, $686,000; payment on modular classrooms at Narragansett Elementary School, $520,000; projected salary adjustment costs, $250,000; increases in contracted custodial and bus services, $306,500; fuel and electricity increases, $135,000; and substitute teacher rate increases, $85,000.

Perry said the budget meets the requirements of the School Committee.

“The guidance provided by the School Committee to the administrative team was to bring forward a budget proposal 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 in alignment with our district priorities,” Perry said in her letter.

Following a series of budget workshops since receiving Perry’s proposed budget in February, the School Committee will have a final review at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, and vote the following night at 7 p.m. at the Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St.

“The School Committee has been working hard to come up with a proposed FY23 budget and will be voting to approve one during our next meeting on April 13,” School Committee Chairperson Anne Schools told town councilors Tuesday.

The School Department will deliver a budget to Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak by April 20 and a joint workshop with the Town Council is set for May 10.

The school budget requires a Town Council vote on June 7 before going to voters in a referendum on Election Day, June 14.

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