WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — Voters rejected the Chariho school budget in a third referendum Tuesday night. At 1,358 to 376, the final count sent a clear message that $54,100 of further cuts from the last budget’s level-funded amount were not enough to satisfy the residents of the Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton.
In the first budget referendum on April 9, the electorate voted down a 1.67 percent increase, which led the school committee to submit a level-funded budget.
In the second referendum on May 13, a total of 1,784 voters rejected the level-funded budget with a 1,129 to 655 count, or roughly two to one. In the third referendum, 1,734 voters rejected the budget even more strongly at about three-and-a-half to one.
Richmond and Hopkinton dominated Tuesday’s rejection of the budget. Of 703 Richmond voters, the numbers split between 584 nays to 119 yeas. In Hopkinton, 800 people voted and the split was 696 nays to 104 yeas.
In contrast, Charlestown voted to approve the budget, with 231 people voting, split between 78 nays to 153 yeas.
On Tuesday night, Superintendent of Chariho Schools Barry Ricci commented in an e-mail that he wasn’t surprised that the budget was defeated.
“With both those who opposed the budget in the past and those who supported the budget in the past urging rejection of the budget (for different reasons), today’s results were expected,” he wrote.
“While I’m pleased that the quality of education received by our students was never questioned, I certainly would have preferred a smoother budget development process. Going forward, we’ll learn all that we can from this year’s events in the hope that we can present a budget that all three of our member towns can support in the future,” Ricci continued.