SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — South Kingstown residents overwhelmingly decided not to approve cutting the town’s school fund by $1.5 million, 12 News has learned.

The referendum went before voters Tuesday, after Dorald Beasley helped lead an effort to slash the $55.9 million school fund down to $54.4 million.

“It would be giving taxpayers a break, and they need one,” he explained.

Those who opposed cutting the school fund argue that it would have catastrophic consequences.

In a letter to parents, South Kingstown Superintendent Mark Prince explained that the school fund reduction would mean more than 20 teachers would be laid off, music and theater programs would be canceled and fall sports at the high school and middle school would be cut.

Of the more than 5,800 residents who voted, roughly 4,600 approved the fund as is while approximately 1,200 were in favor of the cut.