WINTHROP — Preparations are under way to open Winthrop’s schools to students Aug. 29 even as school directors and administrators prepare to take another stab at reducing the school budget.

The Winthrop School Board has scheduled a workshop session for 6 p.m. Aug. 1, and members hope to hear why residents again rejected the school budget at the polls.

“This is to give people in community an opportunity to weigh in and see where they would like to see adjustments in the budget,” said Superintendent Gary Rosenthal. “We’re really trying to get people out, especially those people who voted ‘no.’ I want to know more than you don’t want your taxes raised, because the taxes are going up on the town side.”

The board has a regular meeting Aug. 8, and is expected to take vote again on another school budget.

Town Manager Jeff Woolston also is helping to gather information on why the $10 million 2012-2013 budget was voted down 410-281 on July 10.

He put a notice on the town’s website asking that “no” voters write down why they objected to the budget and put the anonymous notes into the tax collection box at the exit to the Town Office parking lot.

“I figure it’s an important enough issue to try to collect some anonymous information. I wanted to keep things anonymous to try to get more fidelity in the answers,” Woolston said.

Woolston said any information gathered should help identify where changes need to be made.

Carl Swanson, of Winthrop, who attends many of municipal board meetings, has kept a close eye on the poll numbers. He noted that half as many people voted in July as in the first vote June 12.

“The ‘no’ vote increased 8 percent between June and July,” Swanson said. “That’s going in the wrong direction. It’s getting worse each time, as far as passing a budget.”

The budget that was rejected 712-680 in June called for $116,000 more in spending than the $10 million one rejected in July.

Swanson said he has heard people say they want a school budget that will carry no tax increase.

Rosenthal said the reductions anticipated now might include middle school athletics. “What I’m hearing from some people is, ‘Stick to academics,'” he said.

He said he will ask whether people who want a flat budget for the schools are willing to sacrifice athletics.

“To be honest, (the July) budget is $240,000 over last year’s,” Rosenthal said. “It will cost each property owner an average of $27 more. There’s already an increase for the town budget, but we have no control over that. We have no control over the fact that town taxes will go up.”

Rosenthal also is preparing for the start of another school year. He said the top floor of the grade school has been completely renovated and will house the fourth- and fifth-graders. The project was funded with bond money.

He also said the state law, which he had confirmed by the town’s attorney and an attorney specializing in school law, allows the school system to operate on the last budget adopted by the school board at its budget hearing.

The board adopted the $10 million budget on June 25.

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