LEWISTON – The School Committee voted 8-1 on Monday night to approve a proposed school budget for 2019-20 that would boost property taxes 1.5 percent.

The increase would mean a $24 tax increase on property valued at $150,000.

School Committee member Tina Hutchinson cast the dissenting vote.

Superintendent Bill Webster presented a spending plan March 4 that would boost the budget from the $83 million for 2018-19 to $86.5 million for 2019-20, a 4.2 percent increase.

Webster said after the School Committee reviewed the proposed budget, it recommended amendments that resulted in a $315,756 increase from the initial proposal.

As proposed, the increase would cover higher costs for labor, programs, eight mandated special education positions and four new positions, Webster said.

The proposed budget also maintains positions and programs added last year, and adds the following positions at the high school: math teacher, Arabic foreign language teacher, guidance counselor, English Language Learning assistant director and eight special education positions, which are not optional under special education laws.

Webster said the proposed budget will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday, April 16, when councilors will be asked for input.

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