Voters in the Cumberland-North Yarmouth school district will decide next month whether SAD 51 should build a $71.5 million primary school to solve overcrowding.

In addition to borrowing for the building project, the referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot will ask voters to approve borrowing $2.4 million to expand Mabel I. Wilson School. 

If the referendum is approved, the project would increase property taxes about 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed value each year over a five-year period in both towns, starting in 2026, according to school board Chairperson Jason Record.

“That could change slightly and they likely will not be identical due to different valuations in the two towns,” Record said.

The increase would add $184 to the tax bill of the owner of a $400,000 home for each of the five years.

The cost of the borrowing to the school district is expected to decrease after five years so the cost to taxpayers after that is undetermined.


The new school would be built at 80 Gray Road in North Yarmouth for students in pre-K through second grade. Grades 3-5 students would be taught at Mabel I. Wilson, which currently houses kindergarten through grade 2, and grades 6-8 would stay at Greely Middle School, which now also houses grades 4-5.

Mabel I. Wilson was built to accommodate 500 students but now has 762 and is using 14 portable classrooms. The district projects an additional 305 students over the next 10 years. The middle school is using seven portable classrooms, which have taken up potential outdoor playground space, Superintendent Jeff Porter said.

Plans for the new school call for it to be energy-efficient with geothermal heating and cooling, triple-glazed windows and infrastructure in place for future solar panels.

The SAD 51 board had hoped to send the referendum to voters in June, but “issues came up with the Department of Transportation and the additions that would need to be made to the roads and concerns about traffic, so we moved away from that design,” Porter said.

The Gray Road site is 76 acres, and the district plans to use some of it for public trails.

If SAD 51 voters approve the referendum Nov. 8, the permitting process for land use and traffic redirection will likely take six to eight months, after which the plan would go to the North Yarmouth Planning Board.

Further details about the new school building plan can be found on the MSAD 51 website.

Comments are not available on this story.