WINTHROP — Voters gave the school budget a second thumbs down at the polls on Tuesday.

Voters rejected the 2012-13 school budget 410-281 Tuesday night.

It was the second time the town’s voters got to weigh in on the 2012-2013 school budget. The one rejected 712-680 on June 12 was $116,000 higher than the $10 million one up for affirmation Tuesday.

Ike Dyer, Winthrop School Board chairman, who was one of the earliest voters Tuesday — No. 2, he said — was hoping for a good result.

“From my perspective as both a former educator and school board chairman, we brought in as fair a budget as we can without putting the school at risk,” Dyer said. “We’ll have to make some cuts and come back a third time, and those cuts will be a lot more draconian. We’re still going to do the best we can with the dollars we have.”

The proposed school budget coupled with the $2.3 million municipal budget, which includes the county tax, would have cost the town’s taxpayers pay roughly 4 percent more next year.

Kevin Cookson, chairman of the Town Council, previously projected the new tax rate would be about $14.24 per $1,000 worth of property value. The tax rate is now $13.68 per $1,000.

Superintendent Gary Rosenthal too was disappointed with the results at the polls.

“Unfortunately we have to go back to the drawing board, and as I’ve indicated earlier, some of the cuts we have to look out are going to be painful and are going to take away from student and staff needs in the classroom,” Rosenthal said. “These would include not only text books but library resources also.”

Rosenthal said the schools issued reminders Monday about the upcoming vote to parents and staff.

“We sent 1,000 emails about voting and almost 500 phone messages just reminding people that the vote was (Tuesday),” he said.

The school board is expected to take a different tack on budget preparation next year.

“There were seven or nine different opportunities when we discussed the budget in school board meetings,” Dyer said. “Until it was approved by Town Council, we heard very little disfavorable. How we handle that in the future, we don’t know. We’re thinking of starting in early September to get some early feedback from taxpayers.”

He said the school board has been requesting email addresses of those who have attended recent meetings, and plans to send notices about the meetings. The board would be asking them to “tell us where you think our mistakes are,” he said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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