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Voters approve modified budget for Rush-Henrietta school district

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New York Public News Network
A file photo of a "Vote Here" sign.

In Rush-Henrietta, a second attempt to pass a school district budget was met with increased voter turnout and success.

Voters in the district cast their ballots on Tuesday on a revised budget proposal during a second election day. It passed 2,261 to 1,073 — or with 68% of voters casting their ballot for it.

On the first election day in May voters shot down the district’s $171.6 million budget by a slim margin of 15 votes.

"We know this community cares about our schools and today we saw the proof," Superintendent Barbara Mullen said in a statement. "Nearly 1,900 more residents turned out for the second vote as compared to the first. It is evident our community has a strong passion for its students and cares deeply about the resources we allocate to help provide a high-quality education."

School board President Scott Adair blamed the initial defeat on misinformation, low voter turnout, and a lack of clarity from district leadership on budget details.

The school board and superintendent agreed to a modified budget that trimmed off $1.3 million by eliminating new positions like a recruitment director and redirecting funds from grants and state aid.

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In her statement, Mullen said that past few weeks have shown district leaders "what is possible when we discuss issues openly, ask and answer questions directly, and collaborate for the good of public education."

She also said that district officials are reflecting on the budget development process, including how the district can best share information with the public, and will be considering new ways for residents to take part in those efforts.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.