BRUNSWICK, Maine — Brunswick voters on Tuesday ratified an amended 2013-2014 school budget after changes to the state budget altered the amount the town will receive in state aid to education.
Residents cast 457 votes in favor of the amended budget, with 208 votes opposing, according to Town Clerk Fran Smith.
After the Town Council in May adopted a $57.4 million combined municipal and school budget for 2013-2014, figures for state aid to education changed so that the local cost of the teacher retirement plan would be paid locally, but the state would reimburse the town for the estimated cost.
The town is slated to receive $508,604 in additional revenue to pay that cost, but will pay approximately $60,000 less for the actual retirement costs, Town Manager Gary Brown said Tuesday.
The net gain will finance a facilities study examining whether to renovate Brunswick Junior High School and Coffin Elementary School, or possibly build a new school, Assistant Superintendent Greg Bartlett said.
“When they got down to the difference between the costs for a new Coffin School and a renovated school, the difference was only about $4 million,” Bartlett said. “There was a discussion among [school] board members that if we’re going to get X number of years out of a renovated school, and twice as many years out of a new school, the difference of $4 million isn’t a lot.”
The new budget will not affect the 2014 property tax rate of $26.54 — up 6.6 percent from the 2013 rate of $24.90 per $1,000 valuation, Brunswick Finance Director John Eldridge said.