PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Voters may be heading back to the polls to take another crack at the school budget.
The Portland School board is asking the city council for a second referendum on the budget, because the district got $1.9 million more from the state than it planned for. But that money can't be spent unless voters approve it.
Superintendent Manny Caulk wrote the budget assuming the district would be seeing big cuts to general purpose aid. When lawmakers in Augusta finally passed their budget, it shifted new retirement costs to the districts. But it also restored millions of dollars in general purpose aid school districts weren't expecting. Caulk is recommending the money be spent to pay for the added retirement costs, and to restore eight staff positions, including one administrator and several ed techs.
If the issue goes to referendum, voters will have to decide if the money should be spent, and not saved or used to lower the tax rate.
If the money is used to lower property taxes, Portland residents would save about seventeen dollars on a 250 thousand dollar home. Those additional retirement costs would also have to come out of the current $96.3 million budget.
It's up to the city council to decide whether to have a second vote. The school district is asking to hold the vote in late August.