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Contentious School Budget Vote in Burlington

Round two of the Burlington school budget vote has become contentious.
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Round two of the Burlington school budget vote has become contentious.

The lead up to this vote has led to the resignation of several top school district leaders. Groups opposing and supporting the budget have started campaigns.

In Burlington Monday, there was a large show of support for the Burlington school budget.

"We're really concerned. As it is, services are tight. There's lots of needs," says Claudio Renchy Morton, a parent of Burlington students.

People here says things have changed a lot since the school budget was defeated on Town Meeting Day.

The Burlington superintendent among others has resigned. The school board chair says the new $67.4-million budget, while bigger than the failed budget, is better because it includes cuts and should avoid a big deficit.

"Regardless of anything that happens that this is not a referendum on kids," says Scot Shumski, a Burlington School Board member.

Shumski says he's against this school budget. He says the vote is about accountability and school spending.

"We've increased the budget $20-million since 2009. That's a 35-percent increase," says Shumski.

If the proposed budget passes, the homeowner of a $200,000 home would see their taxes go up $220 a year. If the "no's" win, the default budget would mean the same homeowner would pay $152 more a year.

"What does a 'no' vote mean? The scary budget you are left with is the second highest budget in Burlington's history. I don't think that's a doom and gloom budget. That's something you need to learn to live within," says Shumski.
 
"The taxes going up is tough for everybody and I totally understand that. But these children and this community are our future and we really need to support them," says Renchy Morton.

Both sides say no matter what happens Tuesday, there's a lot of work ahead; keeping a better eye on spending and potentially asking the city for help.

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