Foxborough School Committee Approves Revised Budget
School Committee unanimously approved a revised FY2012 budget after passionate discussion.
The Foxborough School Committee unanimously approved a FY2012 budget of $27,359,747 million Monday night, April 4, following a joint meeting with the Board of Selectmen on March 29.
The FY12 budget process originally kicked off on Jan. 31, where the school committee voted to approve a budget of $27,530,044 million.
However, since Jan. 31, a number of revised revenue sources in conjunction with the town have occurred.
Revised revenue sources include:
- Employee Health Insurance co-pay changes from $5.00 to $15.00 -Foxborough town savings of $144,000
- Other co-pay changes (emergency room visits, etc) -Foxborough town savings of $100,000
- Early retiree premium split change - Foxborough town savings of $70,000
- OPEB cost shift to revenue -Foxborough town savings of $300,000
The four revenue revisions (as listed above) decreased the original town deficit of $857,282 to $243,282.
The school's share of the $243,282 deficit, calculated at 70%, currently stands at $170,297.
After reviewing the current deficit number calculations to the school committee, Superintendent, Dr. Christopher Martes, presented the administration's suggested school budget revisions. The revisions are intended to compensate for the $170,297 deficit.
School budget adjustments include:
- Bus Fuel -$16,072
- Staff changes (retirements, resignations, LOA's) - (-) $86,369
- Circuit breaker - $ (-) 100,000
When calculating the following adjustments, the new net change is $170,297.
The revised FY12 budget now stands at $27,359,747, which is $170,297 less than the original budget approved by the committee back in January.
School committee member Martha Slattery was the first to voice an opinion on the revised school budget.
"I am a little concerned about us reducing our budget based on the premise that this is what our numbers are going to be," said Slattery. "We can always reduce our number but we cannot raise it."
Slattery told the committee that she would prefer to maintain the original budget number of $270,530,044.
"I would rather us stay with the original budget number, with the understanding that if the numbers come in less, then we would revise our numbers," said Slattery.
Martes felt confident that the revised budget number "would allow for a level services budget."
"I think in the terms of the work we have been trying to collaborate with the town," said Martes. "This is a solid number."
The proposed meal tax, which could potentially provide a savings of over $600,000 to the town if passed at town meeting, was top of mind for Martes when weighing in on the budget decision.
"I worry if the meals tax does not pass then we have another $210,000 to discuss," said Martes. "It would be better to safely move the number down now."
Slattery was concerned over the "pure speculation" presented in the budget.
"The numbers for the town and for the schools are based on speculation," said Slattery. "What if the unions do not approve a co-pay change, then what?"
Slattery went on to note that "Foxborough needs to look at moving the town meeting."
"It's not good to have a town meeting under assumption. Its not fair to either side. We need solid numbers," Slattery commented.
Martes believed that there is an equal balance of known’s and unknowns, but that it is important to get a number to town meeting.
School committee member Bruce Gardner was in agreement with his fellow committee members but commented that the town “wants them (the committee) to continue to be prudent and drive level services."
Committee member, Kate Kominsky, also voiced her opinion on the budget.
"We suck it up and we cut. I am uncomfortable with this number," said Kominsky. "There are too many unknowns."
Martes then voiced his final opinion in a strong tone, emphasising that “these are adjustments we should make anyways. We are not hiding anything here."
"I would be coming back with these same changes anyways," commented Martes.
The budget's "silver lining" came in the last minutes of discussion where Martes found it was important to point out that "this is the 4th consecutive year of avoiding layoffs."
Town meeting, scheduled for May 23, is the next step in the budget approval process; a step that Martes labeled as "a big one."