Wilson Voters Refuse School Budget Plan

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

...
June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM EDT

Wilson, NY (WKBW) - A second budget vote fails in the Wilson Central School District.

Now the Superintendent and School Board are working on a contingency plan, and looking at cost-cutting measures.

Superintendent, Dr. Michael Wendt, says the district will be okay with reserve funds. However, Wilson has already faced big cuts in the past, and needs to start focusing on how to make next year's budget pass.

"The voters sent us a message and we heard it," Wendt says.

That message, in which voters turned down the budget in a 903 to 604 vote, leaves Wilson in need of $200-thousand.

Wilson Central School District's original budget included a four-percent tax increase. Voters turned that down, and then came a new proposal -- with a tax increase of two-percent. Tuesday night, voters rejected that plan too.

This comes after years of budget reductions in the school district, which eliminated 25 jobs, cut modified sports and hurt the district's reading program.

However, Wendt insists that students and teachers will be okay. The district plans to take $200-thousand from the reserve fund to supplement the upcoming school year.

"The public coming out and saying you know you need to put that money back in the budget -- and we're doing that," Wendt says.

The school district now has to charge the public to use facilities and cannot make big equipment purchases.

However, the focus is on the future. The district cannot keep depending on reserves, and needs a budget that will pass in its five year plan.

The biggest place to cut money from: educators -- an option the district wants to avoid.

"There are programs that we can cut in terms of extra programs -- but it's all about the quality of education and all about the variety that we have for our kids," Wendt says.

Several residents tell Eyewitness News that they want schools consolidated because of declining enrollment in Wilson public schools.

Wendt says consolidating the elementary schools has been discussed in the past, and that the school board could look at it down the road.