Bridport voters eye new, reduced budget

MIDDLEBURY — Bridport residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 4, to cast votes on a proposed 2010-2011 elementary school budget that is $6,158 leaner than the spending plan that was defeated by less than 10 votes on Town Meeting Day.
Voters rejected the original budget plan of $1,336,975 by a 179-172 tally. It proved to be one of the few school budget defeats in the state but was the second year in a row that Bridport residents had rejected their elementary school spending plan.
School directors took another look at the budget on March 23 and found $6,158 in savings. Those savings are derived from less in-service training, as well as a slight downward adjustment in anticipated health insurance premiums, according to Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) Superintendent Lee Sease.
The defeated Bridport Central School budget represented a 0.93 percent spending increase compared to this year’s spending plan. The new spending plan of $1,330,817 amounts to a 0.46-percent boost compared to this year.
Brian Desforges, chairman of the Bridport Central School board, said he and his colleagues worked hard to make the budget as tight as possible. That posed a particular challenge this year, he noted, because the school improvement bond passed last year added $28,000 in debt service to the 2010-2011 spending plan.
“We are hoping to get support,” Desforges said.
If passed, the new budget — combined with Bridport’s obligations under the already passed UD-3 high school/middle school spending plan — would result in a 2.19-percent increase in the town’s K-12 homestead education property tax rate to $2.091. That would translate into the smallest education property tax increase among the seven ACSU towns this year, according to district figures.
School directors plan to hold an informational meeting during the evening prior to the May 4 Australian ballot vote.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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