WINCHESTER — Around the region Tuesday, supporters stood near polling places with signs for their preferred presidential candidates.
Steve Brackett stood in the middle of Winchester Town Hall’s parking lot, engaging in a different kind of electioneering.
“Would you like to see a copy of the school budget cuts as proposed?” he asked a man in a Trump 2020 cap who was walking back to his truck. “They’re talking about doing away with sports and doing away with kindergarten.”
At the Winchester School District’s deliberative session last week, voters passed an amendment to slash nearly $1.6 million from the school board’s proposed budget. On Monday, school board members outlined the budget cuts they say would be needed to make that happen — including getting rid of kindergarten, sports and buses to take high-schoolers to Keene High. The vote is March 10.
“It’s a tough issue,” Brackett, 64, went on. “ ‘Cause it’s gonna mean, you know, if the taxes get raised, there’s gonna be a lot of people in town who are gonna have a hard time coming up with the money. There’s no two ways about that.”
“Yeah, and I’m a property owner,” the man said. “So it matters.”
“So what do you do?” Brackett said. “Do we try to each save ourselves 3 or 400 bucks, you know, so kids don’t have kindergarten, or what do we do? I don’t know.”
“School choice,” the man said.
“Alright. Well, we got the info!” Brackett said as he left. “Thank you for stopping.”
Brackett, a Winchester resident who comes from a family of teachers, said he opposes the cuts. His main goal Tuesday was making sure people are aware of the issue.
Holding a stack of handouts with the proposed reductions, Brackett took care to stay behind a small diagonal line on the pavement. It marked the closest he could get before running afoul of a ban on electioneering near the polling place.
Nearby, his friend Walker Moore tracked down voters in the parking lot with his own pile of budget handouts. Brackett said there’s a group of Winchester residents trying to get the word out.
“The response is, most people don’t even know it’s going on,” he said, taking a few steps back to get out of the way of a parking car.