Election Day is right around the corner. And no matter where you are in your decision making process, we want to make sure you are clear on the facts. Below, I’ve outlined the most common areas of confusion around the K-8 Strategic Project, specifically around school size, cost, and tax impact.

The bottom line is: a unified school is the best solution financially, educationally, equitably and operationally for Scarborough.

• The project will never be as affordable as it is today

Every year a solution is delayed past November 2023, the cost increases approximately 8% per year. That is added cost without added value.

If the referendum does not pass this November, the town will need to budget millions of taxpayer dollars to proceed with a temporary solution to accommodate the
projected enrollment in 2027. Instead of a long term solution, these costs will be devoted to triage, short-term fixes. And a permanent solution will STILL be needed.

One hundred and sixty million dollars is an infrastructure investment that will serve our community for decades to come. This cost includes the new unified K-3 primary school, updates to the middle school, and all land, construction, and infrastructure costs. See the chart below for a full cost breakdown.


A four-schools approach (renovating the current K-2 schools and adding a fourth) would cost Scarborough an additional $230M over 30 years to construct and operate, compared to the unified school. This is a result of significantly more in operational costs, costs from a much longer construction timeline due to the need for unoccupied renovations in each school (nine to12 years vs. four years for a unified school), costs for a temporary solution for our student population (who will no longer fit in our current school structure in 2027, but will need an educational home between 2027 and when the four schools are ready for occupancy), and the time and expense of a community-wide redistricting.

• Your tax bill will be impacted, but not as much as you might think

With debt and liabilities coming off the books, the town estimates a conservative annual tax impact the first 10 years of the bond at 3.7% per year. This is compared to the 3% annual goal for tax increases set by the Town Council. Both are lower than long-term inflation. This is a conservative estimate as it includes other capital projects that may get deferred, does not account for deferment in principal payments, does not include school impact fee contribution to the debt, and also assumes current spending patterns that the council could influence. While for some residents, a 3% tax is still hard to accommodate, the increase is not projected to go up like other communities, such as Cape Elizabeth, who projected a 25% tax increase.

See the chart below for how you can expect your tax bill to be impacted:

Still have questions?

Join us for the final  Q&As before you head the polls on Monday Nov. h, from 6-7 p.m/ at Council Chambers A or on Zoom.

Visit ScarboroughSchoolSolution.org for more detailed information, presentations, and answers to questions.

I’m proud of the district-wide strategic solution you’ll vote on Nov. 7 and excited to be able to bring it to life for students, families, and teachers in the years to come.

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