Increased Algonquin enrollments may mean increased costs for Southborough

When it comes to next year’s fiscal situation, we’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing the Southborough school budget. Little attention (so far) has been paid to the regional school budget, but turns out, that one could have just as significant an impact on Southborough taxpayers.

Superintendent Charles Gobron told Algonquin parents last week that the preliminary fiscal year 2011 budget being discussed by the regional school committee is a 2.19% increase over the current year’s budget.

Despite the increase, Gobron said the $17.7M budget contains “significant” reductions in spending to offset cuts to Chapter 70 and regional transportation funding by the state. While programs and materials have be cut, no staffing positions are eliminated in the budget.

Perhaps most significant for Southborough is an increase in the number of Southborough students attending Algonquin, which Gobron said increased 3% last year. Since the cost of the regional school budget is split between the towns according to enrollment, that could translate into a significant increase for Southborough taxpayers.

“The population shift is killer,” Regional School Committee member Paul Butka said. “Town meeting in Southborough is going to be very tricky this year.”

School administrators are still waiting on more definite Chapter 70 and regional transportation funding numbers, before they can calculate how much of the budget each town would pay. Gobron said they would present assessment information when the Regional School Committee meets to vote on the budget on February 24.

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