Plainville middle schoolers will have fewer options out on the field next school year. Residents overwhelmingly approved a budget that eliminates several sports and impacts textbooks and special education, but many say rejecting the budget would have been worse.
"I want to see everybody have the opportunity to enjoy sports," said Plainville parent Theodore Hitchcock, Jr.
Hitchcock's son Matthew is a student at Middle School of Plainville and plays baseball, so losing the sport at his school is a major blow.
"Then I won't be able to do my sports. I won't be able to get better and improve," said Matthew.
On Tuesday residents voted to pass the BOE budget 863 to 369. It cuts three spring sports at MSP: baseball, track and field, and softball.
The first budget proposal was rejected by voters last month by 12 votes. The town shaved off $100,000 and voters got a chance to give their opinion again on Tuesday.
Officials say voter participation increased from 7 percent to 11 percent. The budget cuts will also mean a special education aide is cut, the hiring of an assistant superintendent will be delayed, literacy tutor hires will be on hold, and AP textbooks won't be bought for the coming school year.
"I don't want to see anything happen to the special education department. I work with special education and that seems to be one of the first places to get hit with the money being taken away," said Hitchcock.
"I've definitely lost nights of sleep thinking about what we have to do with the budget," said BOE Vice Chair Nicole Palmieri. "None of us take any of these cuts lightly."
Palmieri says if the budget had been rejected on Tuesday, the next round of cuts would have been catastrophic. She says the town council originally wanted to slash the budget by $200,000, but dropped it to $100,000. She says she hopes they can find a way to keep spring sports.
"We picked spring sports because it gives us a little bit of time to see if there are changes within the budget, see if parents can do fundraisers, see if there's some way that we can find the money to play the spring sports," said Palmieri.
Many voters say they wish the budget had not been slashed. In addition to a question asking voters whether they approve or reject the budget, voters were asked if they thought the BOE budget was too high or too low. 260 said it was too high; 286 said it was too low.
Parents hope a solution for spring sports can be found.
"I think it's a huge impact on all the students whether in the future or now. Sports is important. It's an important outlet. It's an important thing for kids to have, and I don't want to see it cut," said parent Melissa McCarthy.