Published DateBELMONT — After a half hour discussion and a secret ballot vote, the warrant article that would have created an official budget committee for the Shaker Regional School District failed last night by a vote of 106 to 71.
Article 2 had been placed on the ballot by a petitioned vote spearheaded by Belmont School Board member Richy Bryant, who was one of two people on the board who supported its passage.
A number of people at the school district's annual meeting spoke for and against a budget committee, including the town of Belmont's Budget Committee Chair Ron Mitchell.
"Having a budget committee helps the accountability of the budget by having other people at large look at it," Mitchell said.
Also speaking in favor of it was Ken Knowlton — a former Belmont Budget Committee member who resigned two years ago after the town reduced its municipal budget but the school district meeting voted to add an additional $250,000 to its budget.
He said another layer of oversight was a good thing and even though it is one more layer of government, he "thinks its time for this."
Many of those who opposed it said the School Board members were elected and they are familiar with how a school district works and what federal and state laws must be followed and how to budget for them.
Others feared the goals of a district budget committee would be inconsistent with education and it would be just be another layer of bureaucracy.
The chair of the Canterbury Selectboard, Robert Steenson, said the district has a group of people who develop the budget and that group is the School Board, which is held responsible by the voters of both communities.
"We don't need another layer that can't solve the problems that the school board can't solve," Steenson said.
The voters also passed a school district budget for the 2013-2014 school year of $20,907,009 — up $33,000 from what was originally put to the voters.
After listening to a number of parents and teachers tell residents that cutting the elementary school Internet technology teacher's hours from full time to part time would hamper the students transition to IT and computer technology in middle and high school, the voters adopted added the money by a show of hands.
The overall Shaker budget passed by a vote of 118 to 20.