The Westbrook School Committee Tuesday sliced $718,629.06 from the $51.7 million school budget that residents rejected by 53 votes in last week’s referendum. Voters will get another pass at a new budget next month.

The June 11 budget vote, 844-791, marked the first Westbrook school budget rejection since voter validations were required in 2008.

“It’s disappointing because our budget was so well crafted and so targeted to support out students, our staff and facilities,” Superintendent Peter Lancia said at Tuesday’s meeting.

The new, proposed budget including adult education is $51.01 million, up $3.8 million from the current year’s $47.1 million, representing an 8.09% increase. School Committee members gave it preliminary approval 5-0 with members Jessica Foley and Beth Schultz absent.

The tax rate to support schools drops from $10.69 per $1,000 of assessed valuation under the rejected budget to $10.44 in the proposed budget, according to School Finance Director Brian Mazjanis. The $10.44 amount represents a 12.99% jump from the $9.24 per $1,000 valuation for the current year. The rejected budget carried a school tax increase of 15.7%.

The combined city and school tax rate would be $18.23, a 9.38% increase over the present year, Acting Mayor David Morse said Wednesday.

The School Committee will vote on final approval for the revised budget at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21, in Room 114 at the high school before sending it to the City Council for action. Another referendum will likely be set for mid-July.


Items slashed from the rejected budget include:

• hiring a curriculum coordinator for $121,984.46

• hiring a truck driving instructor for Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, $90,686.11

• hiring a maintenance person to replace a retiree, $70,044.55

• filling an open mechanic’s position, $94,772

• filling an open Saccarappa grade 3 teacher position to replace a resignation, $93,688.38


• middle and high school computer repairs, $40,000

• one school bus lease/purchase, $28,705.18

• audio/visual equipment purchases, $3,000

Spending for athletics and activities will be cut by $8,350 by reducing track coaches from five to four and eliminating the Key Club because of lack of interest.

School Committee member Katy Rice said it’s hard to take anything away from students and staff.

The board’s Finance Committee selected the cuts from Lancia’s list of 22 possibilities that would have totaled $1.15 million.


“None of these cuts are easy reductions,” Lancia said.

No one from the general public was spotted in attendance among the number of school employees at the meeting.

“It’s hard and disappointing to sit here without community participation,” School Committee member Andrea Mancuso said.

Committee Chair Sue Salisbury summed up her anguish on reducing the budget.

“I’d like to say how difficult tonight really was,” Salisbury said.

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