Thursday February 14, 2013

WILMINGTON -- Last month, voters approved a budget that will need another vote in order to go into effect.

"Our budget booklets did not get out in a timely fashion," said Windham Southwest Supervisory Union Business Manager Karen Atwood. "It wasn’t in the voters’ hands 10 days before."

The vote will have to be re-decided at Town Meeting on Mar. 5 for both Wilmington and Whitingham residents in their respective towns.

Because the annual reports were not mailed or delivered on time, the vote had been called into question. Early on, before residents even turned out to vote, the Twin Valley School Board wondered if the reports would be sent out in time.

Atwood told the Reformer that at the informational meeting, held on Jan. 10 at the Twin Valley High School, "It was questioned whether it had been out in time and it was researched and determined that it did not follow the statutes."

The Twin Valley School Board contacted legal counsel to see what it should do next.

"They verified that this how the statute read and it had to be re-voted," said Atwood.

The vote had been deemed invalid, shortly after the proposed budget was voted on.

The booklets that voters needed to receive had been an annual report with a budget summary, a revenues and assessment section and other assorted data. It also had the principal and superintendent reports. The reports were meant to inform voters and help them decide on the question posed to them on Jan. 17.

The question in the article read, "Shall voters adopt a budget of $10,092,012 necessary for the support of extraordinary special education costs and the operations of the Twin Valley School District for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013?"

Residents from Whitingham and Wilmington voted separately. The budget had been approved in both towns by voters.

In Wilmington, it was approved by 75 to 51 votes and in Whitingham, it was approved 60 to 45 votes.

There wasn’t any special reason for why the booklets weren’t delivered on time.

"It was just a glitch timing thing," Atwood said. "There were a lot of factors. It was the holiday season. Everything just happened. There’s not one thing to blame."

When asked if the vote is expected to be ratified, Atwood did not know.

"We don’t have a crystal ball," said Atwood.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.