In a Nov. 25 special election, Rockport residents decided against a debt exclusion to finance the purchase of the Granite Savings Bank building on Broadway.
The vote was 790-330 against funding the $894,400 purchase, which had been approved earlier this fall at Town Meeting.
-- David Rattigan
Faced with the override fatigue that's burdening a lot of towns these days, the Rockport Board of Selectmen turned down a Proposition 2 1/2 override request from the School Committee last week.
Selectmen already are considering a $2.7 million debt exclusion to pay for school roofs, buses, a fire truck, and technology hardware. It's likely the board doesn't want to hurt the chances of addressing that deferred maintenance by putting a second, less expensive choice in front of voters.
With a clearer budget picture in front of it, including indications there will be more money available for schools from the state, selectmen said they would recommend that the Finance Committee add an additional $100,000 to next year's school's budget.
Schools Superintendent Rosemary DiTullio, who attended the Board of Selectmen meeting and another meeting last week with the Finance Committee, said the school department might have to make its argument for the additional funds at Town Meeting. She noted that despite rising costs, the proposed school budget of $8,934,663 is less than this year's ($8,831,295) or in fiscal 2007 ($8,939,674).
While there was no set amount offered for a school override figure, DiTullio estimated that it would run between $300,000 and $400,000. Should the schools get only the additional $100,000, she said, "We'll be able to work with it."
Selectmen plan to make a recommendation on the schools' budget, which could include the additional $100,000, at their April 1 meeting. Town Meeting is scheduled for April 5.
Last year, Rockport voters defeated a $786,000 override for both the town and schools' operating budget.