Residents of School Administrative District 13 in Bingham and Moscow said “no” again Tuesday to a proposed school budget for the coming year. It was the second proposed budget to be rejected this summer.

The referendum vote Tuesday was 88-44 against the proposed $3,499,635 budget for the coming year — a spending package that was $122,441 lower than the one rejected last month.

Board Chairman Brian Malloy said the vote was disappointing. He said the school board and the central office staff worked hard to bring a good budget to the voters, but now they will have to try again.

“They had been very concerned about the big carry-over. They had been concerned about our new principal and how we were handling those positions,” Malloy said Tuesday night after the votes were counted. “As far as what we do next, I don’t know. We’ll come up with a new budget in due time and see what happens the third time around.”

Residents in June said “no” 80-58, to a budget of $3,622,076 for 2017-2018 that had showed an increase in spending of $162,568.

The vote was done June 13 by secret-ballot referendum. Voters earlier had approved the spending package during the June 6 budget meeting.

Residents met again on June 20 to hammer out a budget that the voting public could accept.

Malloy said after the failed vote in June that the new spending would have included hiring two principals for district schools, whereas up until then there had been only one for all classes — Julie Richard. Malloy said residents don’t like the idea of two principals for a total of 200 students.

He said the cost per student is somewhere between $18,000 and $19,000. The state average in 2015-16 was just over $11,000 per student, according to the state Department of Education website.

He said Tuesday that changes the board made to the principals’ positions still were unacceptable. He said that instead of having a separate principal for pre-kindergarten through grade 6, they were proposing a teaching principal. That alone, he said, comes with a cost saving of $62,344. The teaching principal has not been hired yet. Malloy said he expects that person will be coming from the existing staff, but after Tuesday’s rejection, he doesn’t know what the board will do.

Malloy said the district has hired Lee Harper, of Madison, to be the grades 7-12 principal. The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 8.

As for the disputed carry-over, or surplus account, Malloy said the board was proposing about $520,000 in that account, which could be used next year to help pay costs.

Highlights of the proposed budget, which was supposed to have taken effect July 1, include $1,311,789 for regular instruction, down from the rejected $1,344,808; $546,287 for special education, down from the proposed $556,456 in June; $255,269 for system administration, down from the proposed $264,869 originally; and $255,460, down from $324,752 for school administration.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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