LAMOINE — After six tries, Lamoine has a finished school budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The town had a special town meeting last week, at which people approved the $2,245,097 budget, and Tuesday held a required validation referendum vote on the same budget. The referendum vote passed by a vote of 364 in favor to 277 opposed.

Lamoine residents voted on a proposed $2.3 million school budget in late May and then again in early July, and each time the budget was rejected at the required subsequent referendum validation vote. State law requires municipal school budgets to be approved at both an open town meeting and then at a separate subsequent validation referendum before they become final.

Lamoine officials said last week the budget proposal was reduced by cutting some positions from full-time to part-time, and by reducing funding for professional conferences and travel and for books, periodicals and supplies, among other things.

According to a press release issued Tuesday evening by Lamoine officials, the budget is expected to result in a property tax increase of approximately 29 percent. Jennifer Kovacs, Lamoine’s town clerk, said Wednesday that Lamoine’s current property tax rate of $7 per $1,000 of each property’s value is expected to increase to between $8 and $9 per $1,000 of each property’s value.

The approved budget is a little more than 4 percent higher than last year’s $2,153,000 school budget, the statement indicated. The state subsidy for Lamoine Consolidated School, which serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade, decreased by $250,000 due to the town’s higher valuation figure. A balance forward of $185,000 that was used to fund the 2007-08 school budget was unavailable for this year’s budget, officials said.

School in Lamoine begins Aug. 28, in a building that has been undergoing a $926,000-renovation project this summer. Jim Boothby, superintendent of Union 92, said Wednesday that the bulk of work on the renovations is expected to be done by next Monday, three days before the start of school.

The renovations have had no effect on the 2008-09 school budget, officials have said. The first payment on the loan that funded the project will not be due until the 2009-10 fiscal year, they said.

Val Perkins, who retired last spring as the school’s full-time principal, will return this year as the school’s interim part-time principal, according to the release.


Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....