GROTON — A proposed $1.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 override failed at the polls Tuesday, further complicating the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District’s budget after voters in Dunstable rejected their own override Monday.
With turnout of about 35 percent, Groton residents voted against the override by a margin of 1,643 to 1,185. Both Groton and Dunstable put forth overrides to fund a large increase in the school district’s budget, which administrators said would help address gaps in the district and reverse declining performance.
Since the April 20 Town Meeting had already approved a budget built upon the proposed override — and since the school district’s adopted budget depended on overrides passing in both towns — officials must now scramble to revamp their ideas and present new financial plans.
Both Groton’s Board of Selectmen and the School Committee will hold public meetings Wednesday night, and the School Committee posted an agenda for a Thursday night meeting at which budget discussion is the only listed topic. Before this week’s elections, officials had declined to discuss contingency plans in depth.
A second night of the Annual Town Meeting is set for May 23, so the town could present a remodeled budget then.
A majority of voters in all three precincts of Groton voted no: in Precinct 1, the measure failed 603-436; in Precinct 2, it failed 500-330; and in Precinct 3, it failed 540-419.
The override in Groton would have cost the average residence an additional $484, or $121 per $100,000 of assessed home value, in annual taxes.
In Dunstable, the rejected override — which was substantially larger than any successful or unsuccessful override in the past 25 years — carried with it a price tag of about $940 per year for the average taxpayer based on a rate of roughly $235 per $100,000 of assessed home value.
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