• Orange voters to head back to polls
     | March 22,2013

    ORANGE — Voters who narrowly but repeatedly refused to approve a $2.7 million school budget during their traditional town meeting earlier this month will be given another chance next month.

    School board members have reserved Town Hall for April 30 at 7 p.m. for a special school district meeting.

    The only order of business is expected to be the only unfinished business from Town Meeting Day: how much to spend on the operation of the town’s pre-kindergarten-through-8 elementary school and the tuition of its high school-age students.

    The school board has decided to stand by its $2,728,875 budget request — which calls for spending $8,875, or 0.33 percent, more than the $2,720,000 budget that voters approved a year ago.

    The proposed budget includes $1,817,935 to operate Orange Center School and $910,940 in high school tuition costs.

    “They feel like they have a good budget, it’s an appropriate budget, and it’s the budget they need to support the school district,” Superintendent Susette Bollard said of the board’s unanimous decision to bring back the same budget that divided those who attended town meeting.

    Voters initially rejected the board’s budget request, 39-35, setting the stage for two votes that were even closer.

    An amendment to trim $8,875 from the budget — essentially level-funding the request at $2,720,000 — failed by just one vote, 38-37, and a subsequent amendment to return to the school board’s original request, was defeated, 39-37.

    That’s when Town Moderator Adrian Otterman decided to abandon the town’s past practice of voting until a budget is finally approved and to defer action on the school spending plan until a future meeting.

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