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Lincoln residents OK school spending plan

LINCOLN — Voters in Lincoln on Monday night approved a $1.6 million 2010-2011 school year spending plan for the Lincoln Community School.
The budget required a two-part vote because per-pupil spending at the school last year exceeded the state average, and this year’s budget is greater than last year’s budget adjusted for inflation. Voters first approved $1,599,757 in spending in a paper ballot vote, with 69 voting in favor and 30 against.
In a subsequent voice vote, residents also approved the additional $9,778 in spending deemed necessary by the board.
At town meeting in March, residents decided to delay its vote on the budget until May after school officials learned just shortly before town meeting that an accounting error meant the board was grappling with an unexpected $71,000 deficit. In an attempt to cut that deficit, board members trimmed funding from the arts and technology budgets.
School board chair David Venman said he was happy with the turnout at Monday’s meeting, and felt that the meeting fostered “good, healthy discussion,” in part because residents didn’t have to worry about saving time and energy for a lengthy town meeting following the budget vote.
“We weren’t sure exactly how it was going to go (because of the two-vote process),” Venman said, “but I thought the whole thing went really well.”
The next major item on the school board’s agenda will be taking a look at the school’s deteriorating physical plant. The board postponed a bond vote last winter, but formed a building committee to meet in upcoming weeks to address issues with the school’s roof, energy efficiency, heating system, leaking windows and old siding.
“Now it’s the real push. What do we do about the school physically?” Venman said. “It’s going to be expensive no matter how you look at it.”
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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