At a Tuesday, April 25 referendum, residents shot down both the municipal and Board of Education budgets proposed for 2023-2024, noting they felt the former was too high and the later too low.
The municipal budget was presented at $50,082,625 and the BOE budget at $50,555,071.
With those proposals denied, a second referendum has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 23. In the meantime, local officials are hashing out new budget proposals for voters to consider.
Resident Jennifer Jurgen said she believes “the budget process is made to be very difficult for the average citizen to comprehend.”
“By the time it gets to referendum, voters don’t know why they are voting or what the numbers even mean,” Jurgen added. “On the day of the referendum, I was getting calls and text messages from friends and people I didn’t even know” asking for more information.
Jurgen felt that the 2023-2024 BOE budget proposal was too low.
Fellow resident Cornel Boudria agrees.
“Schools have nothing left to cut except staff, and that means losing paraprofessionals, specialists, and even interventionists if contractual obligations aren’t met,” Boudria said.
“Berlin residents may be tax-sensitive, but they don’t like balancing the budget on the backs of schools,” Boudria added.
Just over 10 percent of eligible voters took part in the April 25 referendum.