Parents in Barre City are concerned about the school budget. The last budget failed to pass for the third time, by a margin of just 20 votes.
School Board Chair Lucas Herring says programs within those budgets had been tweaked, but that wasn't enough.
"This time we addressed everything accept for what the actual cost was,” said Herring. “I think it's a clear indicator that we need to make some cuts."
In fact, the school budget actually increased between the first and second votes, and stayed relatively flat for the third try.
The school board now plans to meet Thursday night to figure out where costs can be trimmed, and to set a date for the next vote.
The board chair points to a lack of community involvement - including low voter turnout - that's hurting the process.
“Some of the concerns and frustrations we've had is limited amount of feedback,” said Herring. “You hear 'cut it,' but where do you cut?"
If the budget doesn't pass for a fourth time, then the school will have to rely on less than 90 percent of last year's budget for the coming school year.
It's a dollar amount City Clerk and Treasurer Carol Dawes knows won't be enough to serve the students long-term.
"87-percent isn't going to serve them,” said Dawes. “They're not going to be able to function on 87-percent, but it gives them the opportunity to at least start the school year."
But school leaders are optimistic the summer will give them enough time to figure it out.
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