$34.3M Gorham school budget set for vote

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GORHAM – The Gorham School Committee is expected to vote next week on a proposed $34.3 million school spending plan for the fiscal year beginning on July 1.

The budget, which includes funding for all-day kindergarten, proposed by Superintendent Ted Sharp would rise by $1,383,566 from the present $32,918,128, representing a 4.2 percent increase.

According to the latest School Department figures, the proposed budget would hike the Gorham property tax rate by 29 cents per each $1,000 of valuation. It would increase taxes by $58 on a home with an assessed value of $200,000.

Hollis Cobb, finance officer for the Gorham School Department, said on March 29 that the budget includes no program cuts.

“It’s a fiscally responsible budget,” Cobb said.

The School Committee is scheduled to act on the budget at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, in the council chambers at Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St. The budget was to be discussed in a workshop at 7 p.m. on April 2, after the American Journal deadline.

Under the latest projected figures for the state’s general purpose aid, Gorham would receive $15.8 million, up $1 million from $14.7 million allocated for the present budget.

The proposed budget includes $361,313 in additional state revenue that Gorham received last year. The School Committee’s Finance Committee is using the money as a revenue source in the proposed budget.

According to Sharp’s figures in a March 26 letter to the School Committee, the all-day kindergarten program would cost $552,056. Also in a new initiative, a part time Spanish teacher would be added at Gorham Middle School, costing $32,000.

The budget includes adding a $70,000 Gorham High School teacher position for a science/technology/engineering/math program with $17,500 earmarked to cover resources. The budget also restores a grades six through 12 “numeracy specialist” position at $70,000.

The budget increase reflects wage increases and a 4 percent increase in health and dental insurance and a 5 percent increase in other insurance.

In addition to the School Committee, the school budget requires Town Council approval and ratification by voters in a referendum.

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