After Winthrop voters rejected an $11.18 million school spending plan last month, school officials have drafted another proposal that’s about $60,000 lower, with half of those new cuts coming from the salaries of various administrators.

The Town Council will be discussing the new proposal at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, after a 6 p.m. meeting of the School Board in the same room.

The new proposal would drop the district’s overall spending by about 0.5 percent, preserving many of its existing programs, but reducing the hours worked by an administrative assistant, a nutrition director and a budget coordinator for $24,394 in savings.

It would also remove a $1,906 raise originally proposed for Superintendent Gary Rosenthal, whose salary this year was $99,584, among other new savings.

“There’s been some conversation about the need to cut the system administration’s costs,” Rosenthal said, adding that he agreed to forgo his raise to do “what’s best for the students.”

In the run up to the June 13 election, town and school officials disagreed on how much should be removed from next year’s spending plan, where those savings could be found and — on a related note — which side was responsible for a $1.5 million shortfall in the school side of the budget.

Town councilors originally pushed the School Board to draft a lean, $10.9 million spending plan and to find most of those savings in administrative costs, to help the town begin to recover from the shortfall.

But after imposing a spending freeze this year, school officials originally asked to draft an increased, $11.4 million plan for 2017-2018, then said they would have to cut many arts, sports and extracurricular programs to reach the $10.9 million target set by councilors.

Those proposed cuts drew many protesters to a meeting last spring. But other taxpayers have complained that any increase in their property taxes would be difficult to afford and advocated more cuts by the School Department.

Eventually, town and school officials reached a compromise: the $11.18 million plan that restored the proposed cuts and preserved most of the system’s existing programs, but was rejected in a 477-438 vote on June 13.

In the new spending plan, the School Department has found reductions by reducing several administrators’ salaries and eliminating professional development opportunities. By looking carefully at student enrollment numbers, the department has also reduced two teaching positions to part time — art and math — in a way that won’t affect the curriculum, Rosenthal said.

“We’re not cutting any services,” he said.

Rosenthal said he has tried to determine why the original spending plan was rejected last month. He’s spoken with some voters who wanted the reductions in administrative costs, he said, and others who supported the district’s art and sports programs and didn’t realize they had been restored in the $11.18 million spending plan that was rejected.

That initial school spending plan — along with a slightly reduced municipal budget passed by the Town Council — was projected to raise the town’s tax rate from $1,584 per $100,000 in valuation to about $1,744 per $100,000.

The Town Council must approve the dollar amount of the new school spending plan before it can go back to voters. With the new cuts, the total amount of the second proposal will be $11.1 million, but that number doesn’t include more than $100,000 that will have to be raised for adult education and a school nutrition program.

Of the town’s 5,014 registered voters, 920 cast ballots in last month’s election — about an 18 percent turnout.

Until a new spending plan is approved, the School Department will operate on the $11.18 million plan that was rejected by voters last month, a town attorney said at a meeting on June 18. Some officials had originally thought that last year’s spending proposal would be carried forward until a new plan is approved.

On Wednesday, the school board will also consider appointing a principal at Winthrop High School to replace Keith Morin, who has accepted a position as an assistant superintendent in Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18.

The candidate selected for the position, Sarah Landry, has previously worked as a school administrator in Texas. She would probably make around $75,000 or $80,000, Rosenthal said.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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