Burlington Defeats School Budget
(Host) The big story in Burlington Tuesday was the school budget. Voters had been asked to approve a 6% increase. On Tuesday night, the city's Chief Administrative Officer Brendan Keleher was finalizing the votes:
(Keleher) "Yes, it appears that the school vote did not pass, but it was very close. We had 3,746 voting 'yes' and 3,770 voting 'no.' That's a difference of 24 votes. So, um, it did not pass."
School officials said after the vote there was a lot of competition on the ballot for taxpayers' dollars in the form of spending items. They said that may have contributed to the defeat of the budget. Burlington took three tries to pass a school budget last year.
Mayor Peter Clavelle says that the school vote was considered the most important outcome of the day's balloting, and he didn't see a big shift as a result of city council elections. Despite vigorous campaigning, Republicans did not pick up any seats on the city council, Progressives lost one seat and Democrats gained one. Clavelle says the campaigning overshadows the parties' ability to cooperate with each other:
"Frankly, I think that in spite of the fact that Burlington enjoys some, at times, rambunctious and noisy political debate, we've learned to carve out some huge chunks of common ground. And we will continue to do so."
City voters overwhelmingly supported the non-binding referendum to use an instant runoff system for statewide elections, and passed bond issues that benefit schools and the city's police and fire departments.