Residents have sent a message that it will be necessary to rein in spending in the coming fiscal year as voters rejected a $55.77 million Chariho spending plan that included less than a 2% increase in spending.
The proposed budget, which included $1.07 million in new spending in all, failed in the three-town referendum with Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton voters combining to reject the budget by a 1,062 to 815 margin. Under the Chariho Act, the school district must begin deliberating within the next 10 days and submit a proposal in the next 30 days, officials said.
Superintendent of Schools Gina Picard said the message is clear that residents want cuts, and the School Committee will be faced with some tough decisions in the coming weeks.
“When the community gives you information, you listen. The community has been a strong supporter of our schools in the past and we need to go back, think through things and reset,” Picard said Tuesday night.
Picard said the district will do its best to get to a zero-increase budget as possible, but will face numerous challenges as administrators also balance growing costs related to high inflation rates and energy prices.
The proposal rejected Tuesday had already included $420,164 in reductions made by the School Committee prior to being sent to referendum. The town is also still working with state Sen. Dennis Algiere and state Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy to offset cuts proposed by Gov. Dan McKee to the district’s transportation funding, money that if reinstated would bring $590,584 to the district, officials said.