Calling it a “very modest increase,” Superintendent Charles Gobron asked the K-8 School Committee last night to approve a budget that represents a 0.68% increase over the previous year. The school committee voted to do just that, but not before some debate over the request.
In the latest version of the budget, Gobron trimmed spending requests by $37K over the preliminary budget he presented last month. That budget laid out a 0.9% increase over last year.
Gobron said miscellaneous reductions and a renegotiated lease for the district’s photocopiers accounted for about half of the reduction. The other half came from the decision to postpone a request for a new district-wide network administrator.
In approving the budget, the school committee debated whether to reinstate the network administrator position, noting it was projected to bring the district savings in the long run.
“I’m disappointed to see the network administrator position cut,” school committee member Kathleen Harragan said. “It’s penny-wise, pound-foolish.”
Gobron said the resource would be shared across the regional district, and he didn’t believe it would get support from the other school committees.
Ultimately, members voted 3-1 to approve the budget. While mostly on board with the numbers, school committee member Deborah Keefe voted in opposition saying she would like to see more money go toward technology needs. The fifth committee member, Susan Dargan, did not attend the meeting.
The FY13 budget approved last night by the school committee totals $16.99M, which is $114K more than the current fiscal year.
At the start of the budget season, the Board of Selectmen asked all departments, including the schools, to present budgets that were reduced by 1% over the current year in an attempt to minimize any tax increase for residents. Gobron told the school committee last night that trimming the budget to that level would result in the loss of three teaching positions and five support positions.