South Portland residents will vote June 11 on a $69.4 million school budget, up nearly 5% from this year’s.

Roughly $52.9 million will be funded through taxes, a 3.8% increase over this year.

The City Council agreed last week to send the $69,354,601 budget out for the validation vote. The final proposal is roughly $76,000 less than what the school department proposed to the council in April, despite adding $100,000 for a mental health and student intervention leadership position and $25,000 toward security, among other adjustments.


The Sentry could not connect with Superintendent Tim Matheney before its Wednesday deadline.

In his presentation to the council on April 2, Matheney said roughly 80% of the budget goes toward personnel costs, like wages, salaries and benefits.

New positions include three teaching positions for social and emotional learning, two teachers at Skillin Elementary, an added social worker and a multilingual specialist. Matheney described multilingual specialists, of which the district already has two, as “deeply valued” in the school community, which has seen an 88% increase in multilingual learners since 2018. The overall number of students in the district has increased by only 36 during that time.

“We are educating students in a school district that looks a lot more like the world than most of the state of Maine,” he said at the April 2 council meeting. “We’re excited about this diversity, but it does mean we need to transform ourselves and we are very actively in that process, and I would argue we’re doing very well at it.”

The school department is also holding back on capital improvement projects this year, sticking to minor work such as painting and gym floor maintenance. It  is also using over $1 million of its fund balance to offset the cost to taxpayers.

The city’s property tax rate will be set once the City Council finalizes the municipal portion of the budget, which is expected by June 25.

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