South Burlington voters turn down $50M budget, again

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Voters on Thursday rejected a revised school spending plan by over 400 votes.

Board Chairman Elizabeth Fitzgerald said school directors will hold a special meeting either April 12 or April 13 to discuss the budget and what next steps to take. The gathering is slated for 5 to 8:30 p.m., Frederick Tuttle Middle School Library.

On Thursday, voters cast 1,948 votes against the budget, while 1,474 ballots were in support of the $49,754,590 proposed spending plan. City Clerk Donna Kinville said about 24 percent of city registered voters participated in the special election.

Only the Orchard School neighborhood supported the proposed budget.

At March Town Meeting, voters rejected a $50,565,404 proposed school budget. During a meeting last month, the school board found $810,814 worth of savings while re-tooling the spending plan.

“Obviously we’re pretty disappointed,” said Fitzgerald. “During our board discussion during our last regular meeting, we decided that irregardless of the outcome, we were going to ask the superintendent to arrange a special meeting ahead of our next regular meeting.”

The second budget defeat in as many months is unusual for a district that’s known for its strong support of spending plans put forth by the school board. The controversy swirling around the removal of the Rebels’ nickname and the announcement from school directors about an impasse on teacher contract negotiations also likely impacted the vote.

Gail Callahan

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