WINTHROP — The school board asked the town council for money Monday night to help balance a budget and left empty-handed.

The joint meeting attracted about 30 people and lasted just more than an hour.

Now the school board will meet 6 p.m. Wednesday to find $120,000 in budget reductions.

The budget is hovering around $10 million, and the additional reduction will bring it to $120,000 over last year’s school budget.

Councilors were reluctant to dip into the town’s estimated $900,000 surplus fund, and Town Manager Jeff Woolston said the town is violating its own policy in having less money in there than it should.

“Is there money in surplus that could be available for the schools?” asked School Board Chairman Ike Dyer.

“I would strongly advise taking money from that,” said Kevin Cookson, town council chairman. “$900,00 is not even a month’s operating cost for the entire town.”

Councilor Lawrence Ringrose said, “Stuff happens that’s unforeseen and unbudgeted, and I think we need to have financial reserves in place.”

He suggested prioritizing items in the order of importance to educating the district’s children.

Voters in Winthrop have twice rejected the proposed school budget. A third budget is expected to be approved Wednesday and then go to voters in the second week of September.

School Board member Virginia Geyer asked that everyone in attendance approve the budget at the polls next time and bring 20 other people with them to do the same.

Superintendent Gary Rosenthal said he planned to be at the town’s transfer station the Saturdaybefore the referendum to pass out literature to educate the public.

Nay-sayers have done so on the two previous occasions.

The board also it’s long-range planning session for 6 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Town Office.

“On the school side we’ve heard loud and clear about strategic planning,” Rosenthal said. “The time has come where we need to move out front and get the planning before the budget process.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

 

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