Taxpayers will get their first look at next year’s K-8 school budget tonight. Superintendent Charles Gobron is expected to present preliminary numbers at this evening’s school committee meeting.
In a presentation last month, Gobron said the district faces fiscal challenges this year with the loss of more than $200K in one-time federal stimulus money. It’s money that currently funds one special education teacher and five support positions.
Gobron said some or all of the one-time money could be covered by an anticipated increase in state funding, but the extent was yet to be determined.
To increase revenue, Gobron said the district was considering raising the cost of full-day kindergarten. Northborough’s proposed budget for next year has a $250 increase in kindergarten tuition, bringing it from $2,750 to $3,000. Tuition at Finn is currently $2,750.
On the other side of the equation, operational expenses are expected to increase this year. In addition to a contractual salary increase for teachers and other staff, Gobron told the school committee last month that funds will be needed to keep pace with the current educational needs of the district.
Gobron said an increasing number of students come into the district with English language learning needs, and $33K in additional teacher and tutor time is necessary to meet the needs of those students.
The district’s computer network infrastructure is currently managed by a contractor, but Gobron said next year he’d like to bring the work in-house by hiring a district-wide network administrator. It’s a move he said would bring more efficiency and long-term savings. Funding for the position would be shared with Northborough, with Southborough’s portion (30%) totaling $19K.
Gobron said the funds for English language learning and a network administrator are the only new requests that will be in the budget. The rest will be to fund existing services.
“A lot of what we’re taliking about in our budget is simply trying to maintain what we have,” School Committee Chairperson Marybeth Strickland said.
Tonight’s school committee meeting starts at 6:30 pm in the library at Trottier Middle School and is open to the public. You can see the full agenda here.