North Attleborough schools examine budget impacts from COVID-19

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The Community School. File photo

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

While the current school year’s budget is in good shape, administrators are examining what the potential future impacts could be.

At the School Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 8, Business Administrator David Flynn said that the budget for the 2020-2021 year hadn’t been badly impacted. This was due to the fact that with schools closed, costs such as substitute teachers, supplies, and utilities were very low.

This may help us to save money for next year,” said Flynn. “Hopefully it will help towards next year.”

Superintendent Scott Holcomb said that several renovation or repair projects had been paused for the time being. This includes new lights, curtains and a sound system at North Attleborough High School, the value of which is approximately $300,000. He added that the equipment for this work is at the school and ready to be installed. Plans were also in place to renovate the school’s weight room and lobby.

In addition, capital projects such as the new track at the high school and roof at Community School have been put on hold. Money set aside for these projects could potentially be used to fill future budget gaps, said Holcomb.

We’re not stopping these projects, just maybe pushing them off,” he said.

It’s the future budget that may need some fine-tuning to balance the impacts of the Coronavirus. Flynn said that $20 million of the school’s budget comes from Local Aid, and it’s believed that it will decrease as a result of taxes such as income, hotel, and meals being so drastically affected.

It’s not as rosy as it was a month ago,” said Flynn.

No final numbers are known at this time, but a reduction of 5 percent is one potential outcome. Holcomb said that he would recommend utilizing the town’s Stabilization Fund if needed, in order to avoid cutting positions.

If there was ever a time to tap into it, now is the time,” he said.