Donna Harkins drops her absentee ballot in a ballot box outside South Portland City Hall on Monday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette photo/Press Herald

SOUTH PORTLAND — The results show that South Portland and Cape Elizabeth voters overwhelmingly approved their respective school budgets.

The June 14 election resulted in the new school budget for South Portland being passed with 1,788-376. The Cape Elizabeth School budget validation passed with 1,138-414. 

South Portland voters also passed the referendum question to continue the voting process, with 1,481 voting yes and 647 voting no. 

Cape Elizabeth voters passed the budget validation referendum process in Cape Elizabeth for another three years, 1,189-362. In a non-binding advisory question, 538 voters indicated they believed the budget was too high; 853 said it was acceptable; 135 said it was too low, and 61 ballots were left blank.  

According to the Cape Elizabeth election results, “For the state election, 1,476 ballots were cast; of those 347 ballots were cast, absentee. For the municipal election, 1,587 ballots were cast; of those, 383 were absentee.”

Jacqueline Sartoris won the Democratic nomination for the Cumberland County District Attorney’s race, defeating incumbent Jonathan Sahrbeck. With the largest communities in Cumberland County reporting their results late Tuesday, Sartoris had 13,566 ballots cast in her favor (64 percent) compared to 7,536 (36 percent) for Sahrbeck.


Sartoris has won the city of South Portland by a 235-117 margin. Cape Elizabeth voters favored Sahrbeck.

With no Republican or independent opponents on the ballot, it appears Sartoris will take over the office following the general election in November. The only way Sartoris could lose the seat in November is if an opponent steps forward and mounts a successful write-in campaign.  

South Portland’s school validation is the annual election for the school’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This year’s ballot had additional questions, including whether the public would like to continue the referendum for another three years. The question is asked every three years.  

South Portland voters approved the school department’s planned budget of $59.7 million, a $4.6 million increase over this year. A key driver of the budget increases is due to the rapid enrollment in the district, including a 70 percent increase in multilingual learners since the 2019-20 school year.  

In October 2021 and April 2022, more than 210 students enrolled in South Portland schools. In April, Superintendent Tim Matheney estimated that 1 in 5 South Portland students are multilingual learners. The budget creates new English learning and special education teaching positions and a liaison for housing vulnerable students.  

“South Portland student enrollment accounts for 1.6 percent of the students in the state of Maine,” Matheney said at a previous budget presentation. “We are educating about 20 percent of the state’s housing-vulnerable students.”  

Cape Elizabeth approved the $31,255,751 million budget, a $1.3 million increase from this year. The town council on May 19 authorized the budget. Council members voted 5-2, with councilors Timothy Reiniger and Susan Gillis voting against the budget.

The budget increase creates new positions, including a second band teacher and a math instructional strategist, fuel and oil cost increases, and capital projects ranging from high school ventilation and masonry repairs at the Pond Cove and Middle School buildings.  


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