ANeSU voters reject 2 of 3 budget proposals up for consideration Tuesday

BRISTOL — Voters in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union rejected two of the three school budgets up for consideration Tuesday.

Residents rejected spending plans for Mount Abraham Union High School by a tally of 755 to 485, and Bristol Elementary School, 224 to 166.

Monkton voters approved the budget for Monkton Central School by a narrow margin, 158 to 132.

The margin of defeat for the Mount Abe budget was wider than the first time around. On Town Meeting Day, 46.7 percent supported the budget proposal. On Tuesday, just 39.1 percent of residents voted ‘yes.’

Mount Abe board chair Dawn Griswold issued a statement on behalf of the board, and vowed to get back to work on yet another budget draft.

“The Mt. Abraham School Board is disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote, however we continue to be committed to working to adopt a budget that the community will find acceptable,” Griswold said. “We will continue to engage the community, through budget discussions and other outreach to help community members receive information so they can make balanced and thoughtful decisions.”

The Mount Abe budget proposal of $14.02 million was $36,000 less than the plan rejected on Town Meeting Day and $69,000 less than the budget for the current fiscal year. It would have the equivalent of 5.5 professional staff positions and 2.3 FTEs for support staff. But because of declining enrollment, per-pupil spending would rise by around $1,000.

The proposed BES budget of $4.93 million was nearly identical to the first draft, but cut spending from maintaining the school and grounds to limit staff cuts. Still, the budget would have cut one teacher and three non-special education aides. Bristol’s budget proposal received slightly more support this time, 42.5 percent compared to 41.5 percent in March.

The Monkton Central School board’s $2.82 million proposal was also nearly identical to the one rejected by voters in March. But the board reorganized line items to restore a full time teacher position while also adding a half-time aide and 0.2 FTE counselor. This time around, 54.4 percent of voters said ‘yes’ to the proposal.

ANeSU Superintendent David Adams was not immediately available for comment, but expressed support for the budget proposals Tuesday afternoon, before polls closed.

“With an additional five week period of debate and review of significant public input through forums and surveys, each board has reexamined and refocused a number of spending priorities,” Adams said.  “I believe every board has considered this valuable stakeholder input and again put forward responsible budgets to meet the needs of students and the community.”

The Independent will have a full recap of the budget votes, with analysis from school board members, in Thursday’s issue.

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