At Weston High School on Wednesday evening, Weston residents decided to send unmodified Board of Selectmen and Board of Education budgets to the townspeople for a vote.
The machine vote will be held on Thursday, April 14, at Weston Middle School. Voting will take place from 6:00am to 8:00pm.
Weston's town operating budget totals $11,184,216. The capital budget totals $672,500. Both budgets passed easily and with little discussion.
Residents lined up, however, to offer comments on the Board of Education budget, with one resident suggesting a cut of $1.2 million dollars, of which 80 percent would be comprised of teacher salaries.
Interim Superintendent John Reed quickly took to the microphone to explain the consequences of such an action, which would result in a loss and penalty of state funding in the 2012-2013 academic year.
"We have to maintain at last year's budget, at least," he said, due to state law.
Another resident suggested trimming the budget by an additional $250,000, to be comprised of cuts to administrative staff.
Resident Martha Diamant noted that Weston needs to adopt a "doing more with less" attitude, and recommended a flat budget.
Several residents, who also appeared to support additional cuts to the education budget, asked for a secret ballot.
"The secret ballot is one of the most precious privileges we have," resident Christine Lomuscio said. "The right [to vote and] not to be afraid."
After a "call the question" order was heard from the audience, moderator Woody Bliss asked for a voice vote. However, he was unable to discern a clear winner, so asked for a stand up vote: the "nays" won by a large margin: 103 to 43.
Subsequently, the Board of Education budget passed, also by a large margin through another stand up vote. The 2011-2012 total operating budget for the schools to be considered at next week's machine vote is $45,166,337. The schools' capital budget is slated at $354,530.
Finally, the total debt service budget is $6,748,200, with the budgeted mill rate at 23.93. The total net budget increase after revenues is 0.78 percent increase.
The event was attended by approximately 150 Westonites.