LISBON — Four attempts. Four failures.

By a vote of 900 to 1,085 on Tuesday, voters failed to pass a school budget for the fourth time since June 9.

The struggle to reach agreement on the budget has divided members of the School Committee and Town Council, many of whom expressed hope last week that Tuesday would resolve the conflict.

Three previous attempts to pass the Town Council-proposed budgets were defeated with voters saying each budget was too low.

A proposed $14.93 million budget was defeated June 9; a slightly lower $14.88 million budget was defeated Aug. 11; and a higher $15.04 million budget was rejected Sept. 22 by a showing of only 9 percent of registered voters.

The proposal considered Tuesday totaled $15.04 million, the same as the third budget considered last month and much lower than the spending figure supported by the School Committee.

According to Town Clerk Twila Lycette, Tuesday’s turnout appeared to be higher than the normal off-year elections, which she thought may be a function of the conflict over the school budget.

Over the past several months, the School Committee and some townspeople have said they felt they were not being heard and wanted the Town Council to increase the school budget.

In each of the three budget validation referendums since June, voters said the budget was too low. However, each time, the Town Council proposed a budget lower than that recommended by the School Committee, holding to its original directive in January that the School Committee was to cut $600,000 from the amount the town was to raise above that, required under state law.

The Town Council has held firm that the school budget was not just to be flat but was to be reduced, to help ease the tax burden on townspeople. The council had also directed the town manager to cut $300,000 from the municipal budget. That budget was approved with cuts of more than $340,000.

Since the original budget proposed in June, the state passed its budget, resulting in a higher amount of funding to the school district, therefore increasing the total budget proposed for the Sept. 22 election. The Town Council has proposed the same budget for the Nov. 3 budget validation referendum, which is $105,428 higher than the original proposed budget in June.

Under the town’s charter, the last proposed school budget by the Town Council is the budget the School Committee is required to operate under until a budget is approved by voters. That budget is currently the budget that was approved on Oct. 7, just over $15 million, which will go before voters Nov. 3.

The Town Council committed taxes in August; therefore, the amount of the budget cannot be higher during this fiscal year. It can only be lower.

2015 Election Coverage

  • Complete coverage of local and statewide election results.

LISBON — Normand Roland Albert Jr. won the Town Council at large seat with 856 votes Tuesday. Michael Ray Hebert received 534 and Richard James Nadeau received 366.

Kasie Lyn Kolbe unseated Councilor Mark Curtis Lunt for District 1 by a vote of 481-344.

In District 2, Allen Scott Ward beat council Chairman Dillon Pesce by a vote of 682-388.

For the School Committee, Paula Jefferies was elected to a one-year term with 1,525 votes.

Kathi Yergin was re-elected to a three-year term on the School Committee with 1,276 votes.

Hebert Leslie Reed was re-elected to a three-year term on the School Committee with 895 votes.

Marie Alvina Hale beat Steve Wade Warren for water commissioner by a tally of 975-776.

Voters defeated five of seven town charter amendments as follows:

Question 1: Council chair term limits was defeated 889-925.

Question 2: School Department capital expenditures was defeated 737-1,078.

Question 3: Planning Board chair term limit was defeated 832-978.

Question 4: Appeals Board chair term limit was defeated 865 to 1,052.

Question 5: Date to submit capital improvement program from January to May passed 1,013 to 893

Question 6: Increase from $100,000 to $250,000 the amount for capital expenditures that must be submitted for referendum was defeated 713 to 1,108

Question 7: Gender neutral language in charter passed 1,068 to 756.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect Hebert Leslie Reed’s re-election to the School Committee.

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