Game plan outlined for school budget
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | March 12,2014
The Rutland City School Board needs to look at both the budget and the results of last week’s vote rejecting it, the board chairman said Tuesday night.
City voters rejected the $48,672,312 school budget at town meeting, 1,290-1,192. It was the first time the school budget has failed since a charter change put it on the ballot in 2009.
Peter Mello, the School Board chairman, said last week the rejection was less about anything in the budget and more about sending a “message to Montpelier” about statewide property taxes.
At the first board meeting since the vote, Mello told the board he had a four-point plan for how he thought the board should proceed.
First, Mello said he had asked the administration to identify potential cuts to the budget and bring those to the board for discussion.
Second, he said the board should review and analyze the results of the election, particularly by ward. He noted that the margin of defeat was fewer than 100 votes.
Along those lines, Mello said the board should take a more aggressive approach to getting information out to voters, including to registered voters who did not make it to the polls last week. He said the board should particularly target that group.
Finally, he said the board should schedule a second vote when it feels ready. He said they should not rush, but should stay within the time frames allowed by law.
Mello asked for questions or comments. Nobody at the meeting had any.
The meeting was a sort of lame duck session, as the board does not reorganize until March 25. Departing board members Jamie Pemrick and Wayne Cook were recognized, and Mello presented Pemrick with a lamp and Cook with a chair.