Gorham Superintendent Heather Perry has delivered a $53.8 million budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1 to the School Committee.

The early budget is up more than $3.8 million, or about 7.6%, from last year’s $49.9 million budget that took three validation referendums before voters approved it.

“This has been another difficult budget to build,” Perry wrote last week in a letter to the School Committee accompanying her proposal.

Under the budget, the portion of the local tax rate to pay for education would jump up $1 to $9.79 from $8.79 per thousand dollars of a property owner’s valuation, representing an increase of 11.4%. Taxes would rise $400 from $3,516 to $3,916 on a property assessed at $400,000.

Perry said in her letter that she was given a target budget increase to hit of 7% and her budget “comes close.”

She said $311,702 would have to be cut to hit the mark the School Committee set while state general purpose aid to Gorham is expected to rise from $21.1 million to $22.7 million.


Wages and benefits represent $42.5 million, equaling 79% of the entire budget. Other big ticket expenditures include building operations, $3.4 million; debt service, $2.9 million; transportation, $747,844; and capital improvements, $395,000.

Of the bigger spending increases, Perry said contractual salary increases account for $2.1 million; existing programs that include special education needs, $904,864; debt service for high school heating and ventilation work along with the final phase of modular expansions at Narragansett Elementary School, $503,899; and new initiatives to address alternative learners’ needs at the high school and special education needs, $733,000.

“There is clearly work yet to do on this proposed budget before it is approved and brought to the Town Council,” Perry wrote.

The School Committee will review Perry’s budget in a workshop set for March 4 with four additional ones, if needed, on March 11, March 18, March 25 and April 1.

The School Committee will likely vote on a school budget April 10 and its budget will be delivered April 17 to Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak.

A joint workshop with the Town Council to discuss school spending is scheduled for April 23 and a public hearing followed by a Town Council vote is planned for May 14. Voters will have their say in a validation referendum June 11.

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