By comfortable margins, voters approved the budgets for Lamoille Union Middle and High School and the Green Mountain Technical — but barely could do the same for their elementary schools.
Towns in the Lamoille North school district passed the combined elementary school budget by a mere two votes, 326-324, with three ballots left blank.
Although those numbers are unofficial until certified, such a close margin almost certainly sets the stage for a recount.
The $10.9 million elementary school budget applies to Eden, Hyde Park, Johnson, Belvidere and Waterville, towns that joined the consolidated district over the past two years. It projects per-pupil spending of $16,082, well below the state’s preferred per-pupil spending threshold of $17,816.
Cambridge has resisted merging and its $5.5 million elementary school budget passed handily, 272-46. The other five towns could’ve used that level of support.
Deb Clark, the business manager for Lamoille North, said Tuesday night she prefers to wait until the official certification before going over any what-if scenarios, but said any revote would have to be conducted by all five towns.
In a consolidated school district, there is no way to determine how each town voted. The ballots from each town were delivered to Lamoille Union after the polls closed, and were all mixed together, then counted. That “commingling” of ballots avoids any finger-pointing that one town sank the school budget, or boasting that any particular town carried the day.
Lamoille, tech center sail
Whether it’s because Cambridge was in the mix, or whether it’s because there’s simply more support for the higher grades, the budgets for the middle and high school and the tech center passed easily.
Voters approved the $12.6 million Lamoille Union Middle and High School budget 584-380, prompting Principal Brian Schaffer to quip that he and his crew can get back to work.
He’s even more satisfied by voter support for the $3.5 million Green Mountain Technology and Career Center budget — it was approved 689-274.
Students from Craftsbury Academy, Hazen Union, Peoples Academy and Stowe High School also attend the tech center, but pay tuition, and don’t have a vote on the center’s budget.
The estimated per-pupil spending for middle and high school education is $15,877, also below the state’s threshold.