School Committee holds first budget reading

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By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The FY21 school budget will be largely level-funded, with a few tech-related additions.

A first reading was held at the School Committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11, with a second planned next month. District Business Manager David Flynn said four technology integration specialists have been included in the budget. This position was created to help teachers adjust to the new technology being introduced into the classrooms, such as Google Chromebooks and Smart Boards. This addition to the staff is expected to cost $200,000.

These specialists were supposed to be in place prior to the beginning of the school year, but an unexpected drop in state aid led to budget reductions. The hiring for these four roles was tabled while Acting Town Manager Michael Gallagher worked to bridge the sudden budget gap.

By the time we got the money, the school year was underway,” said Flynn.

Other increases include $200,000 for computer hardware, and additional $100,000 for special education tuition, as well as a $1.3 million in contracted salary increases. All told, the proposed budget will be $42.4 million, a 4.3 percent increase over last fiscal year’s. A public hearing will be held on Monday, May 11.