North school budget sees unexpected increase

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The School Committee has voted to finalize the FY ’25 budget and come across a last-second boost to the funding.

There was a discussion during the May 7 School Committee meeting that originally led to talk among the members.

Superintendent John Antonucci mentioned that the Finance Subcommittee was currently granting the schools an extra $186,000 to add to their budget as of that day.

Originally, the town cut $80,000 from the education budget, but in the newest budget update, the schools are being given a proposed extra $186,417. There was a lengthy explanation from Antonucci explaining what they could do with that extra money.

Members of the committee were debating whether or not the extra $186,417 should be used for the special education budget, or for sustainable revenues as budget offsets.

“We need to do this regardless, talking about shifting priorities earlier, we can’t see a way around it,” said Antonucci.

Other suggestions during the conversation included using the money to hire intervention specialists, , extracurricular stipends at the middle school, or adjustment counselors.

School Committee member Tasha Buzzell believes that the extra money should go to each of these things, and suggested choosing the top items from the committee’s list of priorities.

“I think that we have some real needs here, a lot of them are captured right here,” Buzzell said. “Kids need help, they’re hurting, there’s a lot of mental health stuff, adjustment counselors are critical.” she continued.

The committee members each discussed ways that the money could be utilized for the schools and at the end, they decided to finalize the budget, without a final determination as to what the money will be used for.

The final FY25 budget will be voted on June 12. The School Committee voted 6-1 to approve the proposed budget at $49,075,382.