JEFFERSON — Residents rejected the proposed budget for kindergarten-through-grade 12 education next year in a Tuesday vote.

The $5,137,521 proposed budget failed in a vote of 83-66, according to the town office. It was $91,000 lower than this year’s budget.

The town will have to wait 10 days to start the school budget process over, including holding an open town meeting and secret ballot vote, according to Town Clerk Lynne Barnikow. She said it must be completed with 45 days.

The town is part of Alternative Organizational Structure 93 and has kindergarten through eighth grade education. High school students attend school in surrounding communities and the town pays tuition.

Superintendent Steven Bailey didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Residents approved the proposed budget at Town Meeting two weeks ago, although there were a few attempts to raise and lower parts of it during the meeting.

A group of residents tried adding $60,000 to the budget to fund an additional teacher, but the motion failed by a 26-22 vote.

An attempt to reconsider the budget item later in the meeting also failed as the count was tied with 28 votes on each side.

Despite an overall decrease, the budget would have caused the local contribution to rise by $216,000, or 6.7 percent, as a result of reduced state funding, according to Robert Westrich, chairman of the school committee.

That increase would have carried a tax hike of around $69 per $100,000 of assessed property value, based on last year’s assessment, according to Barnikow.

In the second question on the ballot, voters approved continuing the budget validation referendum process for another three years with 66 percent of the total vote.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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