Cape Elizabeth’s school budget, passed by the school board on Tuesday, will increase school taxes by 6.3%, a significant drop from earlier proposals that called for an increase of nearly 12%.

The $34.2 million budget’s impact on the town’s property tax rate was lessened by an additional $789,000 in state funding announced last month. Now, with a total of $3 million coming from the state, taxpayers are responsible for roughly $30.6 million of the school budget.

The proposal would raise the school’s portion of the tax rate by 94 cents from $16.04 per $1,000 of assessed value to $16.98. The owner of a home assessed at $350,000, the median assessment in Cape Elizabeth according to the town manager, would pay an additional $329 in school taxes next year.

If the town portion of the budget is approved, the total tax rate would be $21.54 per $1,000 of assessed value. The owner of a $350,000 home would receive a tax bill of $7,539, $434 more than this year.

School budget drivers include a $530,000 investment in facilities, which includes fuel, electricity, repairs and general maintenance.

“We have aging infrastructure, aging buildings,” Superintendent Chris Record told The Forecaster this week. “We’re having to increase our (facilities budget) to maintain them.”


There is also a 6%, or over $250,000, increase in health insurance costs along with new positions, including an ed tech at the middle school, which currently doesn’t have one.

There is also a 3% increase in salaries and other benefits, with total staff costs accounting for 83% of the school’s budget.

Prior to the additional state funding coming through, Record said, the school department was confronted with a tough decision.

“We were looking at actually cutting up to 10 of our current positions. We were really, really worried about that,” he said.

“It was really a win-win-win when that error was found,” he said.

The school board will present the adopted budget to the Town Council’s finance committee April 24. A council meeting and public hearing on the budget will be held May 8, and the council will vote on the combined municipal/school budget May 15. The school budget goes to town voters June 13.

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