May 14, 2014
RE: Scarborough Budget Validation Referendum
Needless to say, there are many folks (certainly myself included) who are disappointed in the results of the referendum yesterday. My Leadership Team, the School Board, and the Town Council worked hard to present the voters with a reasonable and responsive Municipal budget for FY 15 –one that includes both the town and school budgets. As is typical, the school budget portion of the Municipal budget has the greatest impact on local tax funds. Key drivers for the schools included big cost increases in energy, health benefits, contractual obligations, and debt service. As well, we have been gradually attempting to restore educational programs that were decimated in the earlier years of the economic downturn. The new school budget requested an increase in tax revenue of just over 5%, however in combination with the town’s request, resulted in an overall increase of 3.5% on the mil rate. The vote was split with a small number of votes causing the validation to fail. We are back at the drawing board again to make our best effort to respond to the referendum outcome with a credible recommendation to adjust the school budget further. We will work with the Town Council to craft a proposal that will ultimately be supported by Scarborough voters while allowing us to continue to improve the quality of education in the Scarborough Schools.
Superintendent of Schools