By a wide margin, Newburyport voters defeated a proposed $1.58 million Proposition 2 1/2 tonight that would have funded the city's school system.
Some 3,286 voted against the measure, and 2,212 supported it.
If approved, the money would have been used to restore 18.5 positions cut from the budget for the upcoming school year, including five middle school teachers in the foreign language program, which was eliminated in the new budget. The funds also were earmarked to update the district's aging computers and technology and the 12-year-old literacy program in grades K-8.
Mayor John Moak was a prominent backer of the proposed tax increase.
-- Kay Lazar
The Newburyport City Council Monday voted 6-4 to hold a special election May 22 to let voters decide on a $1.58 million override to support the city's schools.
Two weeks ago, the council rejected a similar override request, but since then, School Superintendent Kevin Lyons successfully made his case. The big-ticket items under Lyons's plan are: a $325,000 program to update the 12-year-old literacy program in grades K-8; a $250,000 proposal to restore the middle school's foreign language program, which was cut in the current budget; and $200,000 for replacing some of the district's oldest computers.
The City Council also voted to appropriate $17,000 to pay for the special election.
Read more about Newburyport's financial picture here.
-- Kay Lazar
School supporters have another shot at getting an override before voters when the City Council meets Monday night.
The City Council is slated to vote on whether to hold a special election May 22 on a $1.58 million Proposition 2 1/2 override to fund the city's schools. Two weeks ago, the council rejected a similar request but since then, the School Committee supported a blueprint, submitted by Superintendent Kevin Lyons, for how the money would be spent.
The biggest ticket items under Lyons's plan are: a $325,000 program to update the 12-year-old literacy program in grades K-8; a $250,000 proposal to restore the middle school's foreign language program, which was cut in the current budget; and $200,000 for replacing the district's oldest computers, some more than 10 years old.
The council's meeting, in City Hall, is slated to start at 7:30 p.m.
Newburyport has never had an override election, though voters in the past approved two debt exclusions.
The Newburyport City Council last night turned down a request from the School Committee that it schedule a special election on May 15 for a vote on a proposed $1.6 million override for the schools.
By a 7-3 vote, with one member absent, the council rejected a proposed transfer of $17,000 from the School Department budget to the City Clerk’s budget to fund the costs of a special election. Then by the same 7-3 margin, councilors defeated a motion to schedule the special election and place the override on the ballot.
The School Committee proposed the override to provide the added revenues it said are needed because of steep spending cuts the last few years and additional cuts looming for next year.
Newburyport has never had an override election, though voters have approved two debt exclusions.
-- John Laidler
A proposed $1.6 million override for the Newburyport public schools faces its first major hurdle Monday night (March 26), when the City Council considers a School Committee request to call a special election in late May.
A ballot committee in favor of the override, Yes for Newburyport, is expected to present a petition to the council at its meeting urging it to act favorably on the School Committee’s request.
An override has never appeared on the ballot in Newburyport, although voters have taken up and approved two debt exclusions. The School Committee says the proposed override is needed because of severe cuts the district has suffered the last few years and additional ones it faces next year.
Stay tuned for the City Council's response.
-- John Laidler