Burlington to Vote Again on School Budget

Published 05/19 2014 10:07PM

Updated 05/19 2014 10:20PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - In just over two weeks, people in Burlington will vote on a new school budget.

The last one was defeated on Town Meeting Day and since then, the district has come under fire for money problems and it's led to top school leaders leaving.

On Monday, a group of school leaders pushed for people to approve the new and revised $67.4-million school budget.

They received support from Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

"I'll be voting for the June 3rd school budget," say Weinberger.

That's because the mayor says the board has done a good job to find places to cut, has kept a better eye on spending, and has changed school leadership. He says bigger cuts could hurt the school system.

"I am concerned that too many cuts, too quickly, and without a deliberate strategy will do considerable lasting damage to that system particularly in the programs and services that directly impact our children," says Weinberger.

The mayor says people who voted absentee on Town Meeting Day won't automatically receive a ballot this time.

But one group thinks they should. Two school commissioners and one city councilor say that could hurt turnout.

"What we're looking is, to make sure everybody's vote whether you're liberal, conservative, independent is you have your voice counted," says Scot Shumski, Burlington School Board commissioner.

The group says people should automatically receive absentee ballots since this is essentially a re-vote.

But the mayor says on the advice of the city attorney this is a new election and people will need to request an absentee ballot.

"I'm always open to new information if something new were to come to light but time is getting short here. We're two weeks from the election," says Weinberger.

Now this budget is actually more than the budget defeated on Town Meeting Day.

But school leaders say it's a better budget and will end the years of big, surprise deficits.

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