WINSLOW — The Town Council decided Monday evening to restore $124,017 to the education budget in order to save two faculty positions within the school system as they voted to approve the municipal budget for the next fiscal year.

Councilors voted 6-1 to pass the amended $23,715,405 budget in the final reading of the order, saving a second grade teaching position at the elementary school and the librarian at the junior high. Councilor Ken Fletcher was the only vote against the order.

The council did not say what the projected tax rate increase would be if this budget were to be enacted.

Coming into the Monday meeting, the proposed budget totaled $23,591,388, with $15,453,384 going to education. That budget represented a $197,000 cut to the increase in education spending, which amounted to eight faculty positions as well as some school maintenance.

Those cuts included eliminating the position of a junior high librarian, not replacing a retiring second grade teacher, scaling back an employee who works part time as a teacher and part time as an education technician III, eliminating five education technician I’s who monitor lunch and recess, not refinishing a gymnasium floor and an auxiliary gymnasium floor, doing without some repairs and maintenance to sports fields and not buying new computers for technology staff.

Before making those changes to the budget, school officials had made around $140,000 in cuts to attempt to lessen the increase in the budget. Those cuts included the purchase of a new bus and going without new textbooks and painting classrooms.

During the public hearing before the meeting, resident Gerald Saint Almand, who is a soon-to-be retiree, spoke saying that making the $197,000 cut to the school budget would be a mistake.

“I’m here to say to you as one member of the older population of the town to consider carefully what that lower number would do,” he said.

Saint Almand said that saving $100 in taxes was not worth the potential damage of eliminating those positions.

When the order came up for discussion, Councilor Ray Caron said he wasn’t comfortable with cutting that much from the education department and proposed cutting that deduction in half.

Councilor Jeff West said he would go further and motioned to amend the budget in order to restore the second grade teaching position and junior high librarian position back to the budget, which totaled about $124,017.

The council then voted to finalize the budget.

The polls will be open for the budget referendum from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at Winslow VFW Banquet and Conference Center on 175 Veteran Drive.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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