The Gorham school budget is trending upward with a $53.4 million spending plan, representing an increase of nearly $3.5 million or up 6.97% from the nearly $50 million for the current year. The School Committee April 10 OK’d the budget 6-0, with Anne Schools absent.

“The Gorham School Committee believes this budget is the lowest budget that can be approved while still providing the needed programming to operate our schools and to best serve the children of this community,” Superintendent Heather Perry said Monday in an email to the American Journal.

The School Department was to deliver their budget to Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak on Wednesday.

The budget hikes the portion of the tax rate to support local education 9.05%, according to the department, from $8.79 to $9.59 per thousand dollars of a property’s valuation. So, it would raise taxes $320 on a home assessed at $400,000 to $3,836 from $3,516 to pay for education.

The school budget requires a Town Council approval before sending it to a public referendum. The Town Council has authority to cut the budget, but cannot dictate what to reduce or eliminate.

Last year, three referendums were necessary to pass a budget following council mandated reductions and School Committee Chair Sarah Perkins hopes to avoid a similar situation this year. After the vote last week, Perkins urged the Town Council to pass the proposed school budget as presented and “(move) it through in a collaborative manner to prevent further destruction to our community in the coming months.”


Perry previously said she initially was given a target of a 7% increase to hit and her proposed $53.8 million was close at 7.6%. Perry said last week her proposed budget reflected rising health insurance costs but came in about a half million dollars less than expected.

Gorham also got a boost when the state subsidy rose to $22.7 million from $21.1 million, up $1.6 million, or 7.4%.

The board’s approved budget is reasonable, according to School Committee member Michelle Littlefield who said she has analyzed it line by line. “I think it’s a responsible budget,” she said at last week’s meeting.

But School Committee member Stewart McCallister said the budget underfunds facilities. “We’re not investing enough in our buildings,” he said.

The Town Council and School Committee will hash it over in a joint workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, in Conference Room A at the municipal center. Perry said the meeting will be livestreamed and recorded on GoCAT TV.

Town councilors will conduct a budget public hearing and vote on the school and municipal budgets on May 14. The public will make its voice heard at the polls in a school budget validation referendum on June 11.

The school budget has increased 20.8% since the one for fiscal year 2022.

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