BRUNSWICK — Residents of Brunswick will get to decide June 13 on over $65 million in new spending in the school district.

The school board’s revised $37 million budget will go before voters after multiple attempts by the school board and town council to reduce the overall tax increase in Brunswick. The initial $38 million budget, which represented an increase of under 1 percent to the overall school budget, was reduced at the request of the town council to keep the overall tax increase to 3 percent.

The budget was the subject of much back-and-forth between the two governance boards. The initial school budget would have forced a 5 percent tax increase, which Councilors deemed untenable for taxpayers. Eventually, the school board decided to make further cuts to programs, leaving many unfunded: A curriculum coordinator position, a special education secretary, an intervention teacher at the junior high school, freshman sports programs, professional development, and a school resource officer position.

As with many other school budgets, a lot rests on what subsidy the state will decide to give Brunswick. Governor Paul LePage’s proposed budget would cut $1 million. If the subsidy is kept at projected levels, the school board will allocate money toward restoring the cut programs, with any money left over put towards relieving the tax burden.

Another key item residents will determine on June 13 is a $28 million bond for the construction of a new school to replace the aging Coffin Elementary School. The school would be constructed on the site of the former Jordan Acres School, and would be funded locally.

Construction of a new school has been discussed for over six years, kicking off when budget issues forced the closure of the Jordan Acres School in 2011. At the time of its closure, revenue issues stemming from the loss of the Brunswick Naval Air Station, and school consolidation that reduced the number of Durham students tuitioning to Brunswick High School had decreased the budget by $4.2 million.

Initially, the school board approached the town council with a plan to renovate Coffin Elementary School, a proposal that was turned down in favor of a new school. Recent decisions on the state level have also complicated matters, with the Department of Education reopening bids for state-funded school projects. While Brunswick has applied for state funding to replace both Coffin Elementary School and the junior high school, the district won’t hear back from the state until June 2018.

Whether the school would qualify for a state-funded construction project is uncertain, and even if it did, the project wouldn’t be completed for a number of years after 2018, with earliest-possible projections putting it at 2020.

Now a $28 million proposal for a new school will be presented to voters. Current projections put the increase to property taxes at 4.38 percent in 2020, lasting for the next 15 years and beginning to decrease in 2037.

For more information on the budget proposal, visit

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