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.

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Gail Callahan

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  • Edward Letourneau

    Good. More communities need to do this, and keep voting budgets down until the needless spending and excessive union demands stop.

    • Paul Richards

      This is the ONLY real voice the taxpayers have against the out of control public sector unions. When it’s all said and done however, there is still little chance the “negotiated” contracts can be changed. You can vote down the budgets until the cows come home but at the end of the day the union will get their way and the reductions in the final budget will only hurt the children. The teachers will come out unscathed. This is why it is so important to begin the steps towards making public sector unions illegal once again. There are good reasons why they used to be prohibited. It’s against the intent of the constitution to force taxpayers to pay for union benefits and wages.
      Let’s start the process!

  • Steve Baker

    Let’s hope this text payer rebellion takes hold across the entire state. It would be outstanding if VT Digger would use their investigative muscle to publish a breakdown of budget money now versus 30 years ago.
    Taxpayers would be shocked at how much money has been diverted to teachers salaries, benefits, time off, tuition reimbursement, administration, and a bloated administrative staff.
    It’s no wonder parents have to send paper pencils and supplies to school.

    A school committee member use the word “irregardless”?