After the defeat of Winthrop’s $12.2 million School Department budget in unofficial voting results Tuesday, the superintendent said it will be tough figuring out a new proposal for voters.

The budget was rejected by a vote of 350-206.

“Unfortunately, what we don’t know if it’s too low or too high,” Interim Superintendent Cornelia Brown said.

The Town Council had approved the spending plan June 3. Officials now must go back to the drawing board.

The proposed spending plan of $12,201,158 is $418,808 — or 3.55% — greater than the current fiscal year’s budget of $11,782,350. Revenue is up $76,660, or 1.5%, from $5,109,153 to $5,185,813.

According to that plan, the local share of the School Department spending would be $7,015,345, — $342,148, or 5.13%, more than last year’s share of $6,673,197.


Brown speculated that it might have been a “reaction to the overall town budget.”

Cornelia Brown Joe Phelan

The council also approved an $8.5 million municipal budget driven by needed capital improvements.

“We’ll have to come up with a new budget and put it back through the same process,” she said. “We’ll work through it and get another recommendation to the school committee and on to the Town Council.”

Brown said the administrative team will begin to look at what the priorities of the budget are.

The council approved the plan 5-1 on June 3. Councilor Linda Caprara voted against the budget. Councilor Priscilla Jenkins was not present.

The town is recovering from a $1.5 million deficit caused in 2015 when a $700,000 revenue item in the school budget accidentally was counted twice.

Until a budget is approved, on July 1, the start of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the department will work with a default budget, that is the budget approved by voters in 2018 for the 2018-2019 school budget.

This has happened before in the town. In 2012 and 2017, it took multiple tries for the budget to pass.


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