Leicester OKs school budget on second try

<p> LEICESTER &mdash; Leicester residents on Tuesday voted 68 to 61 in favor of a slightly scaled-back version of the 2013-2014 elementary school budget of $1,127,521 that they had defeated on Town Meeting Day.</p><p> The new spending plan of $1,117,640 reflected $9,881 in cuts, resulting in a 5.4-percent increase compared to this year. Cuts made by the Leicester Central School board included around $2,140 in health insurance-related expenses, $2,758 less in compensation for the school nurse position, and a $5,000 reduction in administrative salaries.</p><p> The revised proposal will raise the residential school tax rate from $1.32 to $1.39, or about a penny less than the prior proposed budget. That budget was defeated by a 73-65 tally on Town Meeting Day.</p><p> Leicester School Board Chairman Matt Brush was pleased with Tuesday&rsquo;s voting results, though he acknowledged the tight margin.</p><p> &ldquo;We need to continue to be vigilant about the budget and how we present it, and find the right balance between the taxpayers and the school community,&rdquo; Brush said.</p><p> School officials held two meetings following the initial budget defeat to get voter feedback in shaping the revised proposal.</p><p> Brush noted the new spending plan will cater to a student population that&rsquo;s expected to grow from the current 70 kids to 74. That bodes well for the future health of the school, he said.</p><p> &ldquo;The school is getting a good reputation and strong leadership,&rdquo; he said.</p><p> <em>Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].</em></p>

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