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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wachusett Regional school board cuts budget, will try again for OK from Rutland and Paxton

Wachusett Regional school board cuts budget, will try again for OK from Rutland and Paxton

HOLDEN – The Wachusett Regional School Committee voted Monday to reduce assessments to the five district towns by $700,000total. The cut follows Rutand and Paxton town meeting voters’ rejection of the school district’s original budget request.

The revised budget request will go to Rutland and Paxton for approval. If both fail to approve their budget assessment by July 1, the school district will come under state fiscal management, with the state commissioner of elementary and secondary education to set a month-to-month budget for the district.

The school committee heard from Christine Lynch of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who cautioned the district against thinking that state intervention would provide any additional aid or solve any budget impasse. Ms. Lynch said, “If the commissioner assumes fiscal control of the district there will be more scrutiny on the district and the towns. Whatever the commissioner approves, the towns will ultimately be responsible for.”

She urged the school committee to find some agreement with the towns at by December 1 at the latest, when the state would be forced to set an annual budget for the district. She said, “My advice, if you can work it out locally, that would be ideal.”

School committee members showed reluctance to approve the smaller budget. School committee member Robert Imber outlined how the district’s budget problem goes beyond the five towns and stems from a lack state aid overall. Mr. Imber said, “The foundation budget is a joke. We are spending approximately $3,000 over what the state recommends and that still puts us at the bottom of per student spending. It is unconscionable.” School committee member Susan Hitchcock said, “We have been losing federal money for 10 to 12 years. State aid has been flat.”

Some empathized with the plight of the towns. School committee member Sarah LaMountain said, “We are not trying to force towns to go without ambulance services, while we are also trying to keep class sizes below 30 students.”

Others took a harder line on any further cuts. School committee member Linda Long-Bellil said, “This is it. I will not support further cuts.”

Teachers voiced their frustration with the district’s budget cuts. One teacher said, “Classes need to be under 20, not over 30. We need books printed in the 21st century.” Teachers also saw the district’s effort to supply Chromebooks to all high school students as wasteful while the schools lack supplies they consider more essential. Another teacher noted, “Chromebooks will not solve the problem of books. Many advanced texts are not online.”

Superintendent Darryll McCall emphasized that while the revised budget is far from ideal, the district could still make it work. McCall said, “This budget is still a 4 percent increase. Four percent will be adequate. It should be 15 percent, but we will never have that.”

Time for the Nuclear Option?

Anyone remember how to turn 4 NO votes into a YES! 

Wonder why no mention of nuclear option being used against the town in the financial management letter?

Remember NRSD forcing a vote and ripping lots of money out of Templeton's operating budget?

June 25, 2013

 And then the successful override on October 15, 2013:

Nuclear Option...Spencer voters agree to fund state-set school budget


Templeton Re-Cap data

It's all in the past and coming back to bite you in the future!

1 comment:

  1. Since I didn't attend the extended meeting yesterday maybe someone can inform me,us if any action was taken regarding the Rutland Selectman desire to be our new Town Administrator.

    If I remember correctly in those communities, including Rutland they were now contemplating shuttering 6 schools and moving the kids to the nearly 50% empty Regional High even if this proposed budget passes.