WINTHROP — A third attempt to get voter approval for a proposed 2012-2013 school budget is set for Tuesday. Absentee ballots for the referendum are available for voters who already have made up their minds. Polls will be open Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The proposed budget, adopted by the school committee Aug. 15, stands at more than $9.9 million, which will require $152,000 more in local tax dollars to support it than last year’s budget.

Meanwhile, the municipal budget already approved by the Town Council is up $69,000 over the previous year.

Town Manager Jeffrey Woolston calculated the effect on residents’ tax bills of the increases in the school budget and the municipal budget as well as increases in the county tax bill and the Cobbossee Watershed District assessment. Woolston’s results are available on the town’s website at

The figures show that a resident with a property assessed at $100,000 would pay about $18 more in property tax this year. The tax rate would be $13.86 for each $1,000 of property value; the current tax rate is $13.68 per $1,000 worth of property.

On June 12, the budget was rejected 712-680. On July 10, it was defeated in a 410-281 vote.

After each defeat, the school board trimmed the budget proposal by about $120,000.

By the time the referendum takes place, the schools will be completing their third week of operation.

Winthrop schools started this year with an enrollment of 856 students, nine fewer than last year; however, the high school population is up by 50 students, Superintendent Gary Rosenthal said Wednesday.

He said Winthrop schools have several unfilled posts — a half-time physical education instructor, a half-time English instructor, and a full-time behavioral strategist for special education.

“We’re not advertising for any new positions until the budget passes,” Rosenthal said. “We still have a controlled freeze on for resources and professional development until a budget passes at referendum. We have let up on some things because we had to start school.”

Rosenthal repeated a statement he made a few weeks ago: “This is the last student-friendly budget that we’re going to see. If this budget does not pass, it gets down to staffing and athletics.”

School Committee Chairman Ike Dyer said he and Rosenthal plan to be at the town’s transfer station Saturday morning, handing out educational material about the school budget.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we haven’t left any bases untouched to make sure it will pass,” Dyer said. “I want everybody to vote their mind, but I hope their mind falls our way this time.”

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. “It will either be a happy occasion or require more budget conversation,” Rosenthal said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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