The School Committee unanimously (with seven members attending) approved a new budget number of $29,739,424 for the 2017-2018 school year. While lower than the budget previously certified by the committee, the new budget fully funds the Strategic Plan/Prioritized Budget.
The new budget now goes back to the towns.
- Westminster: since the town approved the override on June 20th, no further action is required until fall town meeting, when the town’s appropriation will be adjusted to reflect the new, lower number.
- Ashburnham: since the town did not approve the override on June 20th, a special town meeting and second ballot vote will be required to approve the school budget. The Board of Selectmen will meet on Wednesday, 6/28 and must approve and set dates for both the meeting and the ballot vote.
Why the Lower Number?
With the end of the school year, Superintendent Gary Mazzola and Business Administrator Julie Surprenant were able to identify $250,000 in savings.
- When the health insurance open enrollment period for staff closed in mid-June, 9 employees came off family plans and 3 came off individual plans, resulting in savings for the district.
- The final health insurance renewal came in at 1.5% less than budgeted because the Insurance Advisory Committee accepted an increase in co-pays.
- The performance contract at Overlook and Oakmont (building upgrades, especially new pellet boilers) resulted in higher than anticipated savings in heating costs.
In addition, the district anticipates receiving more in Chapter 70, Transportation, and Charter Reimbursement funding from the state. As a result, the district’s assessment to each town is lower.
If the Ashburnahm Board of Selectmen decides to move forward with a re-vote, we will be looking for help from all SOCS members to once again get out the vote. Stay tuned for more information.
Holly, Tiffany, Lori & Natalie