BRATTLEBORO -- Voters from the five towns in the Brattleboro Union High School district approved a $27.7 million budget for fiscal year 2015 at Tuesday night's annual meeting.

Less than 1 percent of the registered voters from Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney and Vernon showed up for the meeting, which was held in the high school gym and lasted about 90 minutes.

Only 86 people out of the 14,948 registered voters in the five towns came out to vote on the budget.

The high school budget is up a little less than $179,000 over the current year, an increase of .65 percent.

High School Board Chairman Robert Woodworth called the budget responsible, and recognized the administration for limiting discretionary spending for the fifth consecutive year.

"The administration has found inventive ways to get the job done, while being mindful of the pressures on the taxpayers" Woodworth said.

Most of the debate Tuesday night focused on the board's proposal to spend about $941,000 from the unassigned fund balance on three different projects.

The board asked voters to put $150,000 into the Capital Improvement Fund, $600,000 toward the FY 2015 budget to defray taxes, and another $191,418 into the district's Education Reserve Fund.

All three of the articles were approved by voters at the annual meeting.

Windham Southeast Business Administrator Jim Kane said it made sense to keep some of the surplus in the separate funds to shield the district from unknown fiscal challenges that could arise in the future.

"It's not going to get any easier from here," Kane said. "These are difficult financial times and there are no easy answers."

This is the second year the BUHS board put $150,000 into the newly established Capital Improvement Fund.

Woodworth said it has been 10 years since the first sections of the high school opened following the $55 million renovation, and he said the board wanted to build up a capital fund to pay for improvements as the facility starts to need upkeep.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.