August 5 2018

Warrant Article to Cover School Department Deficit Faces High Vote Threshold at Town Meeting

By: Rich Hosford

A Town Meeting warrant article scheduled to be before Burlington’s legislative body in September will need to meet a higher threshold of support than normal.

 

Town Clerk Amy Warfield said that a vote to cover a fiscal shortfall of roughly $1.7 million accrued by the School Department in Fiscal Year 2018 will need to pass by at least 4/5 vote by Town Meeting. Normally important decisions, such as zoning bylaw changes, require a 2/3 vote.

 

The 4/5 margin, or 9/10 if the issue is taken up during a Special town Meeting, is required by Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 44, Section 64. That section states:

 

“Any town or city having unpaid bills of previous fiscal years which may be legally unenforceable due to the insufficiency of an appropriation in the fiscal year in which such bills were incurred may, in the case of a town, at an annual meeting by a four fifths vote, or at a special meeting by a nine tenths vote, of the voters present and voting at a meeting duly called...”  

 

As reported on BNEWS, Superintendent Eric Conti informed the School Committee last week that there were more expenses in FY18 than had been budgeted for in the amount of roughly $1.7 million.

 

Conti said these expenses include $200,000 in employee stipends, $220,000 for substitute teachers, $400,000 for maintenance and $600,000 in special education transportation as well as some extra expenses for elementary school tutors.

 

The School Committee voted 5-0-0 to place an article on the September Town Meeting warrant to appropriate the funds to meet all FY18 obligations.


 

 
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