Middleburgh and Cairo-Durham school budgets go back to the polls

On Tuesday, June 18, voters in two Catskills school districts will have another chance to vote on school budgets that failed to pass in the regular election on May 22. 

The Middleburgh Central School District, whose budget failed by just 25 votes in May, has proposed a revised budget that cuts spending by an additional $88,000 compared to the rejected budget. The new cuts will eliminate all field trips for the year, and make reductions in non-teaching positions. The new budget increases the tax levy in the district by 2.68 percent compared to last year.

In the Cairo-Durham Central School District, whose budget was also narrowly rejected by voters in May, the budget is also up for a re-vote. According to the Daily Mail's report, the school board did not reduce spending when revising their budget, but opted to use $60,000 from district coffers to reduce the tax levy increase from 4.23 percent to 3.73 percent.

In both cases, if voters reject the school budget again, the district will go to a contingency budget, with zero percent increase in the tax levy and deep cuts to school programs. The Middleburgh school board has told voters that if a contingency budget is adopted, all athletics and extracurriculars will be cancelled for the year. In Cairo-Durham, school board members say, contingency will mean further staff cuts.

It has been a contentious year for the Cairo-Durham district. A controversial "Princeton Plan" grade realignment in the elementary schools, adopted by the school board last December to cut costs, drew fierce outrage from a group of parents who vowed to vote down any budget that moved the plan forward.

Voting at both Middleburgh and Cairo-Durham will take place from noon to 9pm at the school.

The Marlboro Central School District's budget also failed in the May vote, but the school board opted to go to a contingency budget rather than put the budget to a re-vote.