Making pre-kindergarten accessible to all Yarmouth families and adding staff to address student mental health issues are included in the school department’s $34.6 million budget proposal, representing an increase of 10.7 % against this year’s spending plan.

If approved, the schools’ share of the total municipal budget would mean an increase of about 8.6%, or $1.70 above the tax rate of $19.80. The owner of a $700,000 home would see a $1,190 increase in their annual tax bill, not including taxes resulting from the municipal portion of the total budget.

Combined with the proposed municipal budget, Yarmouth’s tax rate for fiscal year 2023 would be $21.86, an increase of 10.4% or $2.06 from this year, according to the most recent figures. recent ones available.

Those numbers, however, do not include $207,000 in city budget cuts of $15.2 million that were approved at a March 28 city council meeting. These reductions include $50,000 from road allowances, $30,000 for a real estate reassessment, $30,000 transferred from the general budget to the fund to finance tax increases, and updated projections of health insurance costs which have decreased by 10 $000.

Council Chair April Humphrey said the $207,000 cuts should reduce the overall planned tax increase to about 10%.

The pre-K addition to the current K-1Rowe school would cost approximately $572,000, while $155,500 has been budgeted for a part-time district-wide school psychologist, a part-time social worker at Harrison Middle School and a part-time social worker. for the pre-K program. In addition, $178,000 has been budgeted to expand the world language program at Rowe School and Yarmouth Elementary School.

“As we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion and what those terms mean … the introduction of a global language and the introduction of pre-kindergarten really speaks to that,” said Newell Augur, member of the school committee, during the council meeting of March 17. “…I think that says a lot to expand pre-K and make it accessible to all families in the district and not just those who have the means and can afford it.”

The additional staff for “social-emotional learning has a lot to do with our response to the remaining pandemic,” Augur said.

“It’s not just for COVID; we face a number of (mental health) issues and that number was increasing even before COVID. »

Yarmouth school officials predict the district will receive $7.7 million in state aid, nearly $1 million more than the city has received this year.

It’s still early in the budget process and City Manager Nat Tupper said that over the next two weeks the board will discuss the school’s requests.

The first public hearing on the school budget will be held April 7 at the American Legion Log Cabin, 196 Main St., at 7 p.m. The meeting will also be available online; links to all City Council meetings can be found at yarmouth.me.us.

For more information about the school budget and upcoming meetings, go to yarmouthschools.org/page/budget.

City Council will hold its next budget workshop on April 4 at 6 p.m., in person at the Log Cabin and virtually.

The full budget will be voted on at the annual municipal meeting on June 7.

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