NEWTOWN, Conn. — Residents rejected a budget that included money for extra school security in the wake of the December school shootings, with town leaders suggesting the spending and tax increases were a hard sell.
Voters turned down the $72 million school budget Tuesday by 482 votes and rejected the $39 million town government budget by 62 votes. Nearly 4,500 residents voted on the plan with more than a 5 percent increase next fiscal year.
First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra said the killings of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School had an impact on the vote, the first since the Dec. 14 massacre.
“We’re very fragile as a community,” she said. “We’ve lost some of our confidence.”
Officials had put an extra $770,000 in the school and town budgets to hire police officers and unarmed security guards in each of Newtown’s public and private schools.
Llodra called the spending increases substantial.
“It’s just beyond the ability of our community to grapple with,” she said.
In contrast, the current budget is up by a fraction of 1 percent over the previous year.
Newtown’s budget troubles are relatively recent and due to the recession, the weak recovery that followed, and an aging population on a fixed income.