School Budget Update

The AWRSD School Committee met on Wednesday, June 21st, to discuss next steps in the wake of the failed override to fund the school budget for the 2017-2018 school year. Chairman Dave Christianson announced that the committee would not make a decision until the following week. The committee is currently considering three options:

  1. Certify the budget represented by the amounts approved at the annual town meetings last May. This amount would be just below level services. Choosing option #1 would bring things to a close, and put a budget in place for July 1st. We would abandon any hope of funding the strategic plan for the next school year.
  2. Certify a lower budget. This would send the budget back to a special town meeting in both towns and assuming passage there, a 2nd override vote in both towns.
  3. Re-certify the prioritized budget. Not sure about how the process would work for this option—would you have to go back to both towns or just Ashburnham, and could you go straight to a ballot vote or must you hold a special town meeting first? The school committee is currently consulting with lawyers and MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education to answer these questions.

Most school committee members were leaning towards option #3, re-certifying the prioritized budget, because:

  • Overwhelming “yes” in Westminster and very close in Ashburnham (lost by 24 votes).
  • AWRSD has created a Strategic Plan to back up their funding request.
  • The need is so great—we are so far behind now that even level services is a loss.

By law, the school committee must take action within 15 days of the failed override vote. The school committee will meet on Tuesday, June 27th at 6:30 PM in the Overlook Middle School library to make a final decision. We encourage SOCS members to attend next week’s meeting to share their thoughts on which option would be best for our kids and communities.

Ashburnham residents should also consider attending next week’s Board of Selectmen meeting: Wednesday, June 28th at 6:30 PM at the Public Safety Building.

Finally, if you have a green and white lawn sign please contact one of us to arrange pick up.

Thanks so much for your interest and help.

Tiffany, Lori, Holly & Natalie