Declining Federal Funds Drive School Budget Increase

Superintendent Charles Gobron said that although the budget shows an increase for 2013, he's satisfied and meets the needs of the students.

"This year has been a particularly exciting year," said "I have enjoyed being superintendent more than any other year because of the excitement around the cirriculum and instruction. We are a district on the move, despite economic restraints."

Those restraints come in the form of a lot less federal aid for FY2013, Gobron explained as part of his presentation on the preliminary school budget to the Northborough School Committee.

Gobron stressed that the budget was just that: preliminary, and various adjustments and factors always come into play before the final is submitted for Town Meeting approval.

The FY2013 budget for the K-8 Northborough public schools of $19,672,524 is a 5.18 percent increase from the FY2012 budget of $18,702,867.

Federal ARRA grants, which were previously funded to the schools, won't be. The lack of funds is a budget driver, Gobron said, and accounts for $371,420 that will not be funded federally for FY2013. $302,905 of that money supported two instructional aides, seven special education aides, and a 1.6 special education position. Technology initiatives previously funded through federal ARRA grants totaled $68,515.

Other budget drivers, said Gobron, include teacher contracts, which total $638,812, transportation increases that total $14,901 and student needs in occupation therapy as well as special education transportation, at $81,346.

"There's a need to increase capacity to provide services," said Gobron, who said that adding a special education aide, behavioral specialist, English language learner teacher and data compliance specialist adds $82,825 to the budget total.

The increase was mitigated, however, by an increase in Circuit Breaker funds of $294,757, Gobron's "good news" in the presentation.

"Without this increase of Circuit Breaker funding," said Gobron, "the preliminary budget situation would be more severe with a projected increase of over $1 million. The preliminary budget increase of 5.18 percent does not meet all the projections identified last month, but conservatively meets the basic needs of our students."


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