PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland City Council unanimously approved a $119.9 million education spending plan on Monday night.
According to NEWS CENTER Maine's partners at the Portland Press Herald, the plan calls for a zero percent increase in the school portion of the tax rate during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Though the new education budget is up 2.1 percent over the current budget, according to the Portland Press Herald it will result in no increase to the tax rate.
“This budget does not have a tax levy and I think that is important for the taxpayers of Portland, especially this year, but it came with some pain for the school board,” Councilor Nicholas Mavodones Jr., chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, told the Portland Press Herald. Mavodones and other committee members recommended the full council approve the budget.
According to the Portland Press Herald, in an effort to bring costs down, Portland schools did eliminate four full-time Spanish language teaching positions in the fourth and fifth grades, three high school teaching positions, one custodial position at the central office, as well as reduced funds for athletics by $140,000.
The Portland Press Herald said Superindent Xavier Botana expanded special education services for students on the autism spectrum, adding one teacher and five ed tech positions in addition to adding two full-time teachers and two ed techs to its pre-kindergarten programming.