Less than two months after rejecting for the second time a proposal to renovate Crooked River Elementary School, voters in Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago will vote Tuesday, May 31, on the School Administrative District 61 annual budget.
Due to changes in the town’s valuation and the funding formula determined by the state, Bridgton and Casco can expect to see increases in their property taxes, while Naples and Sebago will see decreases.
The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $29,378,898, up $272,182 from this year, or an increase of less than 1 percent.
The district “worked really hard to keep the percent increase to a minimum,” said Financial Coordinator Sherrie Small, “and we’re hoping that almost everyone is happy with it.”
The district is expected to receive about $1.8 million in state subsidy, about $55,000 less than this year. The district projects a total of $3.4 million in non-tax revenue.
If the budget is approved by voters, Bridgton’s contribution would be $9,471,872, roughly a 3 percent increase from last year. Casco would pay approximately a 1 percent increase, making the town’s total contribution $6,470,753.
Naples and Sebago would both see a slight decrease: Naples approximately 1.5 percent, to $7,284,041, and Sebago approximately 3 percent, to $3,023,523.
The district has made adjustments to revenue to try to offset Bridgton’s increasing costs, Small said, yet “Bridgton is being hit hard due to the state formula, not us.”
Small said there is nothing in the budget specifically to address overcrowding at Songo Locks Elementary School in Naples, although the district is looking into installing a four-classroom portable at the school.
At Songo Locks, 460 kindergarten through fifth-grade students from Casco and Naples are studying in a building designed for 380 children.
Voters in the district recently rejected in mid-April a $7.8 million proposal to alleviate overcrowding at the school by renovating the former Crooked River Elementary School in Casco. The proposal was passed by voters in Naples and Casco, but defeated in Sebago and Bridgton.
The spending plan was designed by the district’s leadership team to be a needs-based budget. The original proposal included $676,038 in new staffing, which was decreased to $150,000 by the Finance Committee.
The original proposal, Small said, called for a number of new positions. Those new positions has been “paired down a lot,” she said, to a few positions that will “supplement instruction. It will be sufficient,” Small said.
There is approximately a $400,00 increase for regular instruction, and a $180,000 decrease for special education due to changes in staffing levels and contractual and benefit increases for some staff.
A warrant article to be voted on separately would add $250,000 to the Capital Reserve Account from fund balance, increasing the balance in the account to $480,000 for addressing upcoming issues without increasing taxes.
The polls will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., at Bridgton Town Hall, Casco Community Center, Naples Municipal Building and Sebago Town Office.
School Administrative District 61 superintendent’s office