Portland School Board Approves $94.9 Million Budget
The Portland School Board has voted its support for a FY 2013 budget totaling $94,948,537 that would double enrollment in the district’s pre-kindergarten program, add Spanish instruction to the fifth grade curriculum and provide a major investment in technology.
“FY 2013 is the first time in several years when the school district will not receive federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act stimulus funds,” said Portland School Board Chair Kate Snyder.
“Despite that loss of revenue,” said Snyder, “this budget builds on the work of the past three years and keeps the Portland Public Schools moving forward in improving our curriculum, addressing urgent building needs in our elementary schools and increasing the number of children who can enroll in pre-kindergarten classes.” The budget also includes a $2 million lease-purchase of technology equipment, to be paid for over four years.
Snyder noted that the district aggressively sought and won a $5 million, multi-year grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) that allows the district to explore and implement student-centered learning models at Deering and Portland High. The Portland school district was one of only four in New England to receive NMEF grants.
The proposed FY 2013 budget would require a 3.68 percent rise in local property taxes. That equates to an $85.85 increase for a home assessed at $250,000.
During the past five years, the Portland Public Schools has cut staffing by more than 100 positions. The budget approved by the School Board on April 10 would eliminate eight positions in the current budget and add eight additional positions, resulting in no net change in staffing.
Snyder, the School Board chair, will officially present the budget to the Portland City Council on April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Portland City Hall. The City Council’s Finance Committee will vote on the budget on April 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 209 of City Hall.
The council will have a first read of the school budget and a public hearing on April 30 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The council is expected to vote on the budget on May 7 at 7 p.m., also in the Council Chambers.
Portland voters will consider the budget in a May 15 referendum. All polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballot applications now are available from the Portland city clerk’s office.
See updated budget information. Additional budget information can be accessed at http://www2.portlandschools.org/finance-committee-0.