The Pittsfield-based school district passed its budget referendum after the district’s attorney permitted the inclusion of nearly 200 sample ballots that were used in the vote, according to the district’s superintendent.

The amendment, which calls for the use of additional state subsidy money to pay for teacher retirement costs was approved 507-294 in School Administrative District 53, which also includes Burnham and Detroit.

In Pittsfield, 197 sample ballots were mistakenly used during the vote, resulting in a delay of the final tally as Pittsfield waited to check with the district’s attorney to make sure the votes were valid. The difference between a sample ballot and official ballot is that the sample one says “sample” on it.

Drummond Woodsum, the Portland-based law firm that represents the district, said in a letter to Pittsfield’s town office that the use of the sample ballots is acceptable, according to superintendent Dominic DePatsy. He said the school will make the motion to use the money at the Dec. 9 board meeting.

Pittsfield passed the amendment 316-98 and Detroit passed it 48-33. Burnham rejected the amendment 163-143.

The district’s school board voted in October to cover teacher retirement costs with additional state subsidies its receiving.

The cost will not affect residents’ tax bills this year.

The cost of teacher retirement this year is about $95,000. The school district received an additional $100,000 in state subsidy to cover the retirement costs.

The towns voted last year not to budget for teacher retirement costs until the state decided what it would do with them, eventually shifting some of the retirement payments to school districts.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239[email protected]Twitter: @jessescardina

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