A second, reduced budget proposal was defeated at the polls Tuesday, June 21 by a vote of 1380 to 1322. School Board trustees will have to pass a budget in the coming weeks that includes further cuts.
The budget carried a price tag of $53.3 million and a tax levy increase of 6.38 percent.
The original $53.5-million proposal failed 1631 – 1369, a margin of around 262 votes. Some interpret this as a statement from voters that further cuts need to be made, even at the expense of the students.
The proposal came in lower than amount that the board could have adopted as an austerity budget when voters rejected the $55.1 million proposal almost three weeks ago. However, if voters again reject the budget, by law, the board must adopt a lower spending plan. Under austerity, certain purchases are not allowed, but the board has already removed these items from the budget. Therefore, the an austerity budget could be as little as one dollar lower. On the other hand, the board could opt to cut the budget further. There is no limit to low the budget could be, as long the district could continue to provide an education for its students, and meet all state mandates. This could mean the removal of any non-mandated classes or programs.
“If this budget does not pass, everything can and will be looked at,” assistant superintendent Michael Apostol said last week.
For full coverage, see this week’s Saugerties Times, on the newsstands Thursday, June 23.