The third time was not a charm Tuesday in School Administrative District 13.

Bingham and Moscow residents appeared not to have been encouraged by an increase in state funding in a referendum vote on the proposed $3,499,635 school budget for 2017-18.

The budget question — which twice before had been rejected — failed again by secret ballot, this time by just three votes, 73-70.

Brian Malloy, school board chairman, said Bingham voters approved the budget. Moscow residents did not.

Voters in Bingham said “yes” to the budget 52-40. Moscow voters said “no” 33-18.

Malloy said the vote was discouraging after the hard work done by the school board and the office staff. He had said that once before, when the spending package failed for the second time in July.

“It got defeated again — a three-vote difference,” the exasperated school board chairman said after the vote. “It doesn’t give you much confidence. This is the third go-around, so they’ve got to go to No. 4 now. It was much closer — we lost really bad the second time around — but still it didn’t prevail.”

Malloy said the board will meet again Sept. 12 to chart a course for the future.

Residents were asked to vote again on the budget they rejected in July — but with a difference this time. The new proposal had about $50,000 more in state funding than the previous offerings. New state figures show that the district is receiving a total of $912,470 for the year.

The new budget was approved at a hearing Aug. 31 in the Quimby school gymnasium in Bingham, but the crowd was small, Malloy said. SAD 13 voters said “no” July 25 to the proposed school budget for the coming year. It was the second proposed budget to be rejected this summer in the district.

The referendum vote 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 in June.

Malloy said before results were tabulated Tuesday that under the new plan, there would be just one principal for prekindergarten through grade 12 and one or two “helpers” or assistants to the principal. Residents rejected earlier plans in June that 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 didn’t like the idea of two principals for a total of 200 students.

“This person or persons will use their preparation period during the day to do some work for the main principal,” Malloy said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “The total amount of money that those helpers are going to get is $10,000 combined.”

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 cast June 13 by secret-ballot referendum. Voters earlier had approved the spending package during the June 6 budget meeting.

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]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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