Leicester OKs school budget on second try

LEICESTER — 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.
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.
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.
Leicester School Board Chairman Matt Brush was pleased with Tuesday’s voting results, though he acknowledged the tight margin.
“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,” Brush said.
School officials held two meetings following the initial budget defeat to get voter feedback in shaping the revised proposal.
Brush noted the new spending plan will cater to a student population that’s expected to grow from the current 70 kids to 74. That bodes well for the future health of the school, he said.
“The school is getting a good reputation and strong leadership,” he said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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