Fulton’s proposed school budget suffered a surprising defeat Tuesday, falling by just 8 votes.
The $60 million spending plan, which cut more than a dozen jobs, lost 595-587.
“I think people have had enough,” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch. “It’s a challenge.”
The district and board discussed the budget time and again in public, creating a budget committee that included members of the public to study the way the district spends taxpayer money, reviewing the changes to the proposed budget at every Board of Education meeting, and holding a public listening session as well as the legally-required public hearing.
There were many more opportunities to know what was in the budget than in years past.
“It was a very responsible budget,” Lynch said. “We did extreme cost-cutting and tried to strike a balance. I’m proud of the budget we put together.”
The law allows for only one revote on the budget. The options: Send the same budget back for a second vote, “which I don’t anticipate we’ll do,” said Lynch; make more cuts to the budget before a second vote, the likely option; or adopt a contingent budget, which would force strong cuts in spending and eliminate all free community use of district buildings and land.
Voters also picked two members of the Board of Education. They returned incumbent Brian Hotaling, who finished first in balloting. The second slot, which is being vacated by board member Bob Somers, went to Janet Truong, who had served a term on the board in the past. Dan Cunningham, seeking his first elected office, finished third.
Voters made their choices at the district’s four elementary schools. Here is the vote by voting area:
- Granby Elementary: 95 yes, 93 no.
- Volney Elementary: 138 yes, 133 no.
- Lanigan Elementary: 234 yes, 238 no.
- Fairgrieve Elementary: 120 yes, 131 no.
Lynch said it was the first time in his memory that there were more no votes than yes votes at the Lanigan polling station.
He said the district will recount the votes today, including the 40 absentee ballots that were counted last night. He does not expect the outcome to change.