GRAY – Voters in School Administrative District 15 on Thursday passed a $25.5 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The budget is an increase of 3.94 percent, or $967,450.

The estimated tax increase for a home valued at $100,000 in Gray is $78 and in New Gloucester it’s $55.

Moderator Donald Libby of New Gloucester moved voters through 18 warrant articles, which drew questions from the public about the reduction of $254,000 in local share from the Maine Department of Education over the current year.

The district will receive $9.65 million, a reduction from the current $9.9 million.

“Is there something else we can do to send a message to the state that we need those funds?” Susan McGaulley of Gray asked.

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Another resident asked if the budget cuts affect the education of students.

The school board also cut 50 percent of capital improvement spending and reduced staff positions throughout the district.

The district’s per-student cost based on 2015-16 figures is $11,525, the lowest of 12 surrounding towns. The highest per-pupil cost is $15,991 in Cumberland.

Attendees voted 59-6 to appropriate $3 million in local funds.

Voters also:

• Authorized spending $127,340 for adult education programs while raising $73,000 in local share; and

• Approved spending $4,517,451 in special education, an increase of $379,773.

Voters will head to the polls on June 13 for a budget validation vote.


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