SAD 61 voters go to polls Tuesday on budget

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BRIDGTON – Voters in the four SAD 61 towns will weigh in on the proposed 2017-18 school budget in the annual referendum next Tuesday, May 30.

Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago residents will vote on the approximately $30.5 million budget, which is an increase of about 2.2 percent compared to last year, according to district Finance Coordinator Sherrie Small.

The projected share for each town is $9,680,702 for Bridgton, $6,625,836 for Casco, $7,458,401 for Naples and $3,091,581 for Sebago, according to a presentation Smith made at the district budget meeting on May 16. Those are all increases from last year’s local tax assessments for school funding.

In their joint message as part of the district’s annual budget report released in April, Superintendent Alan Smith and Assistant Superintendent Patricia Hayden shared their perspective on the budget process.

“Collectively, the Board of Directors, Finance Committee, Finance Coordinator, and Administrative Leadership Team have been very thorough and thoughtful in crafting a budget that does not diminish student programming and supports our school community; at the same time, they have kept an eye on the overall financial impact,” Smith and Hayden said in their message.

Finance Coordinator Small also said at the district budget meeting that the final $30.5 million total was actually a decrease from the initial proposal for this year. According to Small, the proposal was reduced by $175,000 once the district found out that it insurance costs were not going to rise as much as previously thought.

The district also hopes to shift more than $1 million from its undesignated fund into its capital reserve fund, which Small said will not affect the total budget or local taxes.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Bridgton Town Hall, Casco Community Center, Naples Municipal Buildingand Sebago Town Office.

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