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Reaction to school budget passage in Burlington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Reaction to school budget passage in Burlington

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - Voters went to the polls Tuesday in a number of Vermont communities to make big decisions on their school budgets.

The Burlington school budget has passed and supporters are celebrating what was a narrow victory.

"We're very happy," said Barb Prine, who voted for the budget.

The budget is now set at $67.4 million for the 2015 fiscal year, It comes with a tax increase of more than 7 percent.

Close to 6,500 people turned out for the lone item on the ballot with fewer than 70 votes separating the "Yeses" from the "Nos."

For students like sixth grader Maggie Barlow, the vote was important for keeping the classes she enjoys.

"At Hunt, I like Spanish this year, but we don't get Spanish anymore because there's not enough money, and I don't want anything else to go away too,” Barlow said.

"No" voters sought lower taxes and more accountability from a school board which has run up a $2.5 million deficit. They were energized a few weeks ago when Superintendent Jeanne Collins agreed to step down at the end of the school year.

"I think a lot of people don't want to pay more taxes if they are unsure if their money is being spent wisely,” said Nicole Neimann, who voted against the budget.

And even those who voted yes said they could understand calls for more accountability.

"They are completely right. Voters and taxpayers deserve accountability,” said Prine

Others supported the plan hoping that the quality of a Burlington education would stay strong.

"I think sometimes you need to pay for the mistakes other people have made whether you like it or not. I think it's important to keep the quality of our schools high in Burlington,” said Tex Lynch, who voted for the budget.

The school board is now tasked with fixing the deficit and finding new ways to make the school system more efficient.

This budget reflects more than a million dollars in cuts including at least 6.5 teachers and 20 para-educators.

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Vt. school budget results, Burlington budget passes

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