A padded budget in Barrington or cash-strapped schools?

Taxpayers divided in Barrington budget debate; budget hearing is tonight

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Ed McKinlay and Gina Bae are both paying close attention to the ongoing school budget situation in Barrington. 

Mr. McKinlay, a longtime resident and former member of the town's park and recreation commission, believes there is money to be saved in the school budget. He seemed to accept the committee on appropriation's recent recommendation to eliminate the $1.2 million increase to the school budget.

It's been a good year for million dollar-plus home sales in Barrington.

Ms. Bae, the mother of three young children, moved to Barrington three years ago from Massachusetts and is a member of the Nayatt School PTO. She said the school department is already strapped for resources. She said she strongly opposes the elimination of the $1.2 million increase.

Ms. Bae filed a motion with the town clerk's office on Monday, May 1 to reinstate the $1,202,448 back into the school budget. She said she is hopeful that people will vote through her motion at the May 24 financial town meeting, although she would also be happy to see the committee on appropriations and the school department find a compromise prior to the FTM.

Mr. McKinlay said he has grown tired of the seemingly regular budget increases requested by the school.

"I think it's a game they've been playing for years and no one's been looking at it," he said during a phone interview on Monday, May 8.

Mr. McKinlay said he read a recent article in the Barrington Times in which school officials referenced earlier cuts they had made to their proposed increase. 

Mr. McKinlay questioned some of the alleged reductions offered by school officials, especially those which would be gained by making purchases in the current school year instead of waiting until the next.

"Whether he (school finance director Ron Tarro) believes it or not, he has indicated that he is padding the budget," said Mr. McKinlay. 

A budget hearing is scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the high school.

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