School budget takes center stage this week

With Town Meeting less than a month away, Southborough’s $16.99M school budget will be a topic of conversation at two board meetings this week. No doubt it will also be a topic of conversation here on the blog.

The Board of Selectmen tonight are slated to discuss and vote on a number of budgets, including the K-8 and regional school budgets. The board deferred their vote on the K-8 budget last week, hoping to hear more from school officials about recent concerns over lagging MCAS Growth numbers.

On Wednesday the K-8 School Committee will hold a public hearing on the recommended budget, which they voted to approve at a meeting in February. During the state-mandated hearing, Superintendent Charles Gobron is expected to go through the budget line-by-line and explain each expenditure.

Much has been made recently of the School Committee’s policy not to engage in discussion with audience members during its meetings. Public comment is invited at Wednesday’s hearing, but given their policy, I couldn’t tell you whether the committee plans to respond to comments during the meeting or not.

In addition to the K-8 budget, the Board of Selectmen will also discuss and potentially vote on the $18.5M regional school budget, for which Southborough taxpayers would be assessed $6.6M. Other budgets to be discussed include the police department and the benefits budget for both town and school employees

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:00 pm at the Town House Hearing Room. Tomorrow’s School Committee meeting kicks off at 6:30 pm at the Trottier Middle School Library. Both are open to the public. For the full agendas for each meeting, see this post.

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