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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Voters say yes loudly on schools

HUDSON – Voters approved a $44.89 million operating budget for the School District by more than a two-to-one margin.

In light turnout, there were 1,759 yes votes for the budget, and 708 no votes

Voters on Tuesday also re-elected two members to the School Board. Incumbents Lee Lavoie, with 1,444 votes, and Amy Sousa, 933, won re-election, defeating Norman Martin, 918, and Keith Pearce, 769.

The budget for next school year was finalized after about $262,000 in cuts above original spending requests.

Despite the cuts, cost increases made the budget $1.05 million more than the current $43.84 million operating budget. Officials also said because of cuts in state and federal aid, there will be a $510,000 decrease in revenue.

Voters rejected three spending proposals covering salaries for district employees.

One – a three-year contract for the district’s school secretaries – failed, 1,378 to 1,113.

The contract wouldn’t have included a pay raise for the first year of the agreement. Secretaries would have received salary increases of 2 percent in each of two subsequent years. The total cost of the agreement would have been about $44,000.

A second contract was for the district’s custodians, electricians and HVAC technicians who are affiliated with the Teamsters union. It failed 1,403 to 1,062.

Under the agreement, union members wouldn’t have gotten a raise this year, but would have received a 2 percent increase in each of the next two years. The measure would cost taxpayers about $66,000 over three years.

A third proposal asked voters to appropriate about $11,000 to cover a 1 percent pay increase for nonunion district employees. It failed by just three votes, meaning a recount will be held. The vote was 1,235 to 1,232.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or