Friday, March 28, 2003
Concord to vote on 3 override options for CCHS
Betsy Bilodeau, chair of the regional school committee (RSC), expressed her frustration on Monday night after the Concord Selectmen voted to offer three override choices for funding the FY04 high school budget. Carlisle voters will be offered just one override option. The goal was to get both towns to agree to one override number, to avoid a costly Joint Town Meeting which would be needed if Concord and Carlisle aapprove different funding levels. "We worked to get behind a number," Bilodeau explained, "and managed to get Carlisle support [for the override recommended by the Concord FinCom]. We were hoping this year to establish a process to allow the two towns a partnership in establishing the budget."
One Concord selectman was absent during much of the budget discussions and not "up to speed" on the funding issues, according to Bilodeau. Bilodeau has requested a recount of the vote, hoping to educate the selectmen on the potential problems a mismatched ballot would offer. "We [Concord] could vote a lower number than Carlisle," she warned, explaining that the bottom funding tier on the Concord ballot was lower than the number on the Carlisle ballot. A Joint Town Meeting may have to be called to resolve the funding mismatch. "And it would serve them right," Bilodeau concluded, clearly angry.
Last week the Carlisle selectmen placed a single override question on the Carlisle Warrant and the ballot for the town election. The $189,429 override would be used to fund the CCHS FY04 budget. This level of funding would provide the high school an increase of about 3.6% over fiscal year 2003.
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