$5.5M override will go to voters; Board sets special town meeting May 21.

Byline: Elaine Thompson

SHREWSBURY -- After weeks of discussions, selectmen Tuesday night voted to call a special town meeting for May 21 to decide on a $5.5 million Proposition 21/2 override question.

If town meeting members approve the override, voters will make the final decision at a special election June 3.

In previous talks, selectmen had considered an override for the schools, which are challenged by crowded classrooms, outdated textbooks and technology, program cuts and deteriorating test score.

However, selectmen Tuesday night emphasized that after years of cutting back and deferring capital expenses there are critical needs in some municipal departments.

If passed, $4.2 million would go to the School Department and $1.3 million would go to the operating budget and capital projects. The town has never passed an operational override.

"I think we are one town and it's one question. And let the people decide if they want the town to continue on the positive track or they want it to be something else,'' said Selectman John I. Lebeaux.

An override for $5.5 million would increase the tax rate by $1.15. The current rate, one of the lowest in the region, is $12.17 per $1,000 of valuation.

The board's vote came after Town Manager Daniel J. Morgado presented his fiscal projection No. 2, in which he amended several budget line items, including adding $634,277 to the school budget. The bulk of that money came from a $405,400 reduction in the health insurance...

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