Light turnout as Lewiston school budget approved

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LEWISTON — A bigger school budget, buoyed by $1.3 million more in state aid, easily received voter approval Tuesday.

The Lewiston School Department’s $49.3 million budget drew 482 voters to the polls for the special election. According to Tuesday night’s poll results, the vote was 375-107.

The budget reduces school property taxes by about 1.6 percent, from $15.9 million to $15.7 million. 

But school spending will increase, thanks to $1.3 million more in state aid to education for an increase in student enrollment. According to city records, enrollment went from 4,729 in the 2008-09 fiscal year to 4,891 in the current year.

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Increasing enrollment in Lewiston and a lower citywide property valuation mean more financial support from the state.

City Clerk Kathy Montejo said Tuesday’s turnout was about what she expected. This year’s vote totals were below last May’s school referendum total of 491, but just barely. The 482 votes cast represent about 2.1 percent of registered voters.

“It’s never a big election,” Montejo said.

Tuesday’s votes were made on plain paper ballots printed on City Hall printers and the results were hand-counted. The last vote was cast by 7:45 p.m. and the polls closed at 8 p.m. Four election clerks collated, sorted and tallied the results by 8:18 p.m.

City Councilors are scheduled to adopt a city budget by the end of the month.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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