SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed $43.3 million school budget Tuesday, 3,584 to 496.
Of the more than 4,000 voters, 2,047 voted that the proposed figure was too low, 1,838 voted it was too high, and 177 deemed it acceptable.
Voter turnout on Tuesday was 26 percent.
Approval of the school budget has taken more than one attempt for three out of the last four years; approval took two attempts last year, three in 2013 and two in 2012.
The revised budget included a reduction of $500,000 from the originally proposed $43.8 million. That difference, according to School Board member Chris Caiazzo, would have meant the elimination of many essential programs, including after-school clubs, sports and programs.
In an email following the failure of the second referendum, resident Stacey Neumann, speaking on behalf of the Supporters of Scarborough Schools community group, wrote that she and fellow members feel the vote “indicates a re-commitment of our community to support and fund high quality schools for our children.”
Steve Hanly, a resident who has been operating the largely oppositional blog, LookOutScarborough.com throughout the budget process, also hoped voters would reject the “bizarro” budget, according to a blog post from Monday.
Unlike Neumann, however, Hanly still thinks the proposed figure is too high.
“Let’s hope that Referendum #3 can be something that all sides can agree on to the same extent we disagree on this one,” Hanly wrote on Monday.