Barrington schools celebrate win at financial town meeting

Taxpayers vote to increase school budget by $1.2 million

By Josh Bickford
Posted 5/25/17

Barrington taxpayers voted overwhelmingly to restore the school district's initial request for a $1.2 million increase at Wednesday night's financial town meeting.

A crowd of more than 500 people …

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Barrington schools celebrate win at financial town meeting

Taxpayers vote to increase school budget by $1.2 million

Posted

Barrington taxpayers voted overwhelmingly to restore the school district's initial request for a $1.2 million increase at Wednesday night's financial town meeting.

A crowd of more than 500 people voted by a 3-to-1 margin to increase the schools' request from $800,000 — the amount recommended by the town's committee on appropriations — to $1.2 million, which was the figure the school committee had approved earlier this spring.

"It's good for the students," said Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore, after the meeting ended. "I think this speaks to the point that people in this town value the school system."

With the $1.2 million increase now official, Mr. Messore said that the district would not be cutting any of the programs or positions they had earlier identified for elimination. He said all the sports programs would remain in place, as would the classes and staff positions.

"Everything will go back," he said.

The vote at Wednesday night's financial town meeting marked the third time residents had turned out to support the local schools in the last seven months. In Nov. 2016, residents voted by a 2-to-1 margin to approve a $68.4 million bond to build a new middle school. Then in March, residents again turned out to approve exceeding the state-mandated 4 percent tax cap, which was key to affording debt service payments on the school bond.

At the financial town meeting, residents again showed their support for local public schools. 

They first voted to approve a $100,000 bump to the recommended $800,000 increase to the school budget. Then, after a handful of comments from the public, taxpayers voted to raise the increase from $800,000 to $1.2 million.

Toward the end of the meeting, the crowd of taxpayers inside the Barrington High School auditorium voted three school supporters onto the committee on appropriations. Josh Berlinsky, Cynthia Rosengard and Scott Douglas all earned enough votes to join Chad Mollica and Richard Staples on the committee. 

The budget votes will result in a substantial tax rate increase. The old rate was $18.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value, while the new rate is $20. That means a resident whose property was assessed at $300,000 had been paying $5,535, but will soon be facing a $6,000 tax bill. 

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