Voters will go to the polls Tuesday in New Milford for a second attempt to pass a budget for 2010-11.

The Board of Education's proposed budget stands at $56.9 million after a total of $1.8 million has been cut from the original request.

The schools budget would mean no increase over the present year.

The town side of the budget remains at $33.48 million after it had been approved during the first referendum held May 25.

This budget package would represent a mill rate increase of .075 mill.

Voting will be held from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town's seven polling sites.

The new budget proposal could well lead to teacher layoffs.

Yet for Republican Town Council members who voted last week to cut an additional $1 million from the education budget, "Don't blame the Town Council," in the words of councilman Bob Guendelsberger.

Mr. Guendelsberger was joined by the council's GOP majority in the belief the town's teachers should take a pay freeze for the coming fiscal year. That would save $1.3 million for the schools.

"The majority of people in this town are in trouble financially," said councilman Tom Esposito. "We are in the worse recession in decades. Our state economy is in the hole. Our town economy is struggling, which means our residents are struggling."

Mr. Esposito said that, if the town works together, with everyone "making sacrifices" like taking pay freezes and keeping spending flat, the 2010-11 budget as pared down by the council could work.

Board of Education chairman Wendy Faulenbach is "confident the board (of education) will do everything possible to try to preserve the instructional core," if voters approve the budget as it now stands.

Yet Mrs. Faulenbach also said funding the school system within the $56.9 million budget figure is going to be "a real challenge" and "the magnitude of its effect, I don't know."

Mrs. Faulenbach, Superintendent of Schools JeanAnn Paddyfote and the board's legal counsel have been in talks with the teachers' union since March attempting to get the teachers' union to make concessions, she said.

Union president Kim Patel did not respond to The Spectrum's request for the union's position on a possible pay freeze.