The Portland City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve next year’s $161.4 million Portland schools budget.

After a tough budget preparation season, both the school district and the city proposed spending plans that combined would limit the overall property tax increase to less than 6%.

The school board approved in early April a $161.4 million proposal for the 2024-25 school year. The plan would require a tax-rate increase of 6.6% and eliminate around 10 positions, including education technicians and roles to support non-English speaking students. 

The increase in the schools portion of the property tax rate would result in an annual tax increase of $245 on a $500,000 home.

Parents spoke in support of the proposed school budget at its first reading, saying additional funds were sorely needed and that the school system could not stand to cut positions or lose any more resources than it already has. Only one person spoke against the budget at a previous meeting, citing concerns about property tax hikes.

At the second reading Monday night, only a handful of people weighed in.


Lily Kendall, a school program manager at Cultivating Community, a local nonprofit that partners with Portland Public Schools on garden education programs, urged the council to approve the budget.

“It is essential that educators and students are given all the resources that they need in order to succeed,” she said. Kendall praised the budget for allowing more time for teachers to plan lessons.

Aoife Nugent, who has a child with an individual education plan at the East End School, also urged the council to pass the school budget.

“We need a fully funded budget to keep the excellent teachers and administration,” she said. Nugent then criticized the process that relies on city property taxes to fund schools.

“It pitches neighbor against neighbor and community member against community member,” she said. “It’s really heartbreaking to go through this every season.”

Several councilors also voiced support for the budget Monday night.


“I think education is the greatest community asset that we have and returns the greatest value,” said Councilor Anna Trevorrow, who chairs the council’s finance committee and played a pivotal role in crafting the budget. “I will be supporting this tonight.”

“I wish we didn’t have to cut anything,” said Councilor Pious Ali. He also expressed support for the budget.

Each section of the school budget was approved unanimously during the first hour of Monday night’s meeting.

The budget will next be sent to voters, who can cast ballots on June 11, or submit absentee ballots, which are already being accepted.

Portland’s overall property tax rate is the average of the municipal and school tax rates. The city and school board propose the budgets, which must be approved by the City Council.

For the current budget year, property owners saw a 5.9% tax increase, the average of the city’s 6.1% tax increase and the school district’s 5.7% tax increase.

The council also heard a reading of the proposed $277 million municipal budget, which would increase taxes by 4.9%. City Manager Danielle West presented the budget to the council in April before it was sent to the finance committee for further review.

When combined with the school’s increase, the overall tax rate would increase by $0.84, to $15.25 per $1,000 valuation should the municipal budget be approved. The combined increase would be 5.8%, or about $315 on a $375,000 home.

The council will take public comment on the municipal budget at the next council meeting on June 3.

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