EAST HAMPTON, Conn. (WTNH) – The town council decided the controversial school budget will move forward. Now the decision will go to the public in a referendum vote. 

It was another night of tension and anger from the community over these cuts. The proposed cuts include five teacher layoffs, increased classroom sizes and reduced hours of math tutors and school psychologists.

The superintendent said they had to reduce the budget because Covid money has run out and inflation is high.

There was an hour and a half of public comment at the town council. Everyone who spoke asked the town council to send the budget back to the board of finance.

“I am a little bit disheartened that they didn’t take the opportunity to send it back to the board of finance went in that hall and two different meetings, it’s clearly stated that is their hope,” said Paul Smith, East Hampton’s Superintendent.

The chairman of the town council said he’s heard from other residents who are in favor of this budget and the cuts, and this referendum will give them a chance to weigh in.

The question on the referendum will ask voters to vote yes or no on the school budget and indicate whether the budget is too high or too low. 

If the majority approves the budget, it passes with the cuts.  

“If the budget fails, and the majority of people say, ‘I voted no because it was too low,’ then we would come back and send it back to finance and do some thing. However, if it fails, and the majority of people say, ‘it’s too high,’ then we have to cut more out of it,” said Mike Philhower, the East Hampton town council chairman. 

The referendum vote is on Tuesday, May 30.