Published Date Written by Staff ReportThe $94.24 million Portland school budget passed yesterday.
The city clerk's office reported the budget passed with 64 percent voter approval.
Justin Costa, head of the finance committee for the school board, said, "More than any other budget in the last several years, the result of this referendum really speaks to the city's commitment to education. I think this budget makes significant investment in education."
The budget marks a 5.35 percent — or $4.7 million — increase over the 2012 budget.
During the presentation to the council, school officials said the primary drivers behind the increase were $2.1 million in lost grant revenue, $1.4 million in salary increases and increases in the cost of insurance and local debt.
The proposed budget aimed to increase the enrollment in early childhood education programs, add Spanish instruction to the fifth grade curriculum and invest in technology, according to a press release, and meet the demands from within the school system for that programming.
The City Council widely supported the proposed $94.24 million budget for the Portland School System and voted unanimously to approve it last month. School officials first proposed a $94.94 million budget to the council though some adjustments were made during a subcommittee's review.
The Finance Committee made $701,089 in cuts and lowered the budget's bottom line to $94.24 million.
The committee cut $175,000 and took $526,089 from the operating budget to the capital budget for technology investment. The $175,000 were covered by savings that came from lower than anticipated health insurance rates, according to information from the school district.
Both the School Board and the administration agreed with the adjustments made by the council.
The budget passed by 1,000 in favor to 562 against, according to the clerk’s office.