Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — WILSON — Town residents voted down the Wilson School budget for the second time this spring “sending a message” that the price of education is too high in the district.
The vote was 903-604 against the $24.3 million budget Tuesday. On May 18, the budget went down to defeat by a 698-414 margin.
That means the district will automatically go to a contingency budget of the same $24.3 million. The difference of about $200,000 will come from Wilson’s $2 million in reserves. That could portend problems in the future, according to outgoing school board president Tim Kropp.
With the high turnout in a town of 6,000, Superintendent Mike Wendt anticipated the budget might go down to defeat.
“The process works and we’ll work with the results of the vote,” Wendt said. “There are a lot of people that want to send a message. We try to bring out a responsible budget to the people. With this (contingency) budget, we’ll take a look at the five-year plan, redesign that, and we’ll work through it.”
Bill Smith, a retired resident, said, “I think they have to slow down the spending on the teachers. Send a message to the union that we as taxpayers can’t afford any more raises. That’s the feeling around that everybody has. We have to make up for salaries and their retirement.”
Union President Meg Thompson, a fourth-grade teacher, thinks the public might have the wrong perception of teachers’ pay and benefits.
“We’re not getting raises every year,” she said. “Our last conttract was in 2008, we have not asked for more money since then. What they’re talking about is the steps. Now, there’s a whole number of us at the top step and we haven’t had an increase since 2008.”
The teachers have also surrendered some health insurance and now have Point of Service insurance.