In preparation for Town Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Charles Gobron is inviting Southborough residents to public forums on the budget next week.
At the forums, Gobron will present the proposed K-8 school budgets for FY15. Residents are then welcome to ask any questions they have on the subject. (Scroll down for dates & times.)
The proposed K-8 budget for next year is $18,320,604. It is a 3.67 % increase over this year’s budget. The amount was approved by the School Committee at their February 12th meeting.
At the meeting, Gobron explained that this would be the ceiling. Depending on the final budget for Algonquin Regional High School, they may need to do some “fine tuning” to lower it.
Gobron left room for shifting funds within the budget. Committee members expressed interest in funding a math specialist and increasing classroom technology beyond 4th grade. They also supported increasing administrative staff in the district office.
Another potential impact on the budget is enrollment. Everyone agreed that the K-8 population is shrinking as their largest class size moves through Trottier.
They were surprised to learn that next year’s kindergarten registration is already a full class size beyond predictions.
Kindergarten was projected to be 85 students next year, down 9 from the current class. As of early February, 105 students had registered.
Finn and Woodward schools Principal James Randall told the committee that more students would be starting school after February break. He also reminded them that 1st grade is historically bigger by about a dozen students. (Many students go to private kindergarten, then enroll in public school at 1st grade.)
Gobron pointed out that with fewer classes to split students between, unexpected increases in enrollment have a bigger impact.
The K-8 School Budget forums will be held for residents on:
- Tuesday, March 4 at 9:30 am @ Woodward School Cafeteria
- Tuesday, March 4 at 6:30 pm @ Woodward School Cafeteria
- Wednesday, March 5 at 11:30 am/noon @ Southborough Senior Center*
*The Wednesday forum is a luncheon for Southborough senior citizens. Food will be served at 11:30 am (made by Assabet Valley students) followed by the presentation at 12:00 pm.
*Updated (3/4/14 10:25 am): I was just informed that the information announced at the meeting about the Wednesday budget forum was incorrect. The forum was described as open to the public even though it takes place at the Southborough Senior Center. Actually, the forum is specifically for town seniors. (The free lunch comes out of the center’s budget!) So, if you aren’t a senior and are interested in attending a budget forum, take advantage of the 6:30 pm forum tonight at Woodward School.