LISBON — The School Committee voted 4-0 Monday night to recommend a 2015-16 school budget of $15,272,598. 

A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15, after which the Town Council will vote on a budget that will be presented to voters on Jan. 12

In November, the Town Council did not vote for the budget proposed by the School Committee, which is the same budget total that the School Committee is recommending again. The Town Council voted instead to present a budget of $15,038,410 for the School Budget Validation referendum —$234,188 less than the budget recommended by the School Committee. 

The total of the school budget has not changed from the budget recommended on Sept. 1; however, some of the line items have been redistributed.

From the Undesignated Fund, additional subsidy rebates were increased from $94,481 to $168,737; the balance to help defray taxes increased from $118,211 to $194,270, increasing the total revenue from $575,189 to $725,504.

Changes reflect anticipated reimbursements from the track project which were not previously included in the budget.

Under anticipated revenue, the amounts remain the same.

The total budget after revenue was reduced from $14,697,409 to $14,547,504.

The amount required under the Essential Programs and Services, which the town is required to pay, remains at $13,764,132. Additional funds above the required amount were reduced to $305,606 from $455,920.

The total additional funds recommended by the School Committee is $599,425 from the previous $749,739. This is still almost $84,000 above the $515,551 that the Town Council has repeatedly voted to put through to referendum and has committed taxes against. 

On Nov. 3, for the fourth time this year, voters went to the polls and defeated a spending plan for 2015-16.

They rejected a $14.93 million budget June 9 and a $14.88 million budget Aug. 11, with the majority saying it was not enough money. The third vote on Sept. 22 rejected a $15 million budget.

The budget battle has centered on including money left from the more than $4 million high school gym construction project in the school budget. The School Committee wanted to use it all, but the Town Council wanted to use only some of it.

In November, the School Committee included $304,551 left from the gym project in its proposed budget. The council voted to include only $154,237, because it learned legally it could only use the proceeds to pay down the interest on the gym and track loans.

The new recommendation includes the number that the Town Council had previously approved to pay down the interest on the bond, but it now includes reimbursements which were not previously included in the budget recommendation.

Another point of contention has been the council’s directive in January to cut $600,000 from additional local funds for education. The School Committee has refused by repeatedly presenting budgets that did not reflect that. The budget approved Monday night by the School Committee was no different.

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