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FY18 School Budget Certified, Up by 2.47%

The Mendon Upton Regional School Committee has certified a $33,409,859 operational budget for FY2018 during their March 13 Open Budget Hearing.

The new budget is an $804,589, or 2.47 percent, increase over the current year's school budget of $32,605,270.

"The proposed budget keeps existing programs in place, keeps our class sizes that are highly conducive to student learning intact, and builds on our district's focus of continuous improvement," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Maruszczak while presenting the proposed budget.

The budget reflects a $222,011 increase in the assessment to Mendon, a 2.57 percent increase to $8,877,076, and a $334,053 increase in the assessment to Upton, a 3.21 percent increase to $10,732,757, for the operational budget, not including debt service.

Maruszczak began his presentation talking about the state of the district, citing reasonable class sizes, expanded extracurricular, enrichment and athletic offerings at the middle school, the successful roll-out of a special education inclusion model at the elementary and middle levels, and the addition of Social Emotional Learning programs at all grade levels.

"Nipmuc High School was also named as one of Newsweek's Top High School in America," he said.

Maruszczak continued with his presentation delving into details of the budget. Some of largest drivers for the increase year over year, said Maruszczak, were increases in salary, $355,362 or 1.91 percent; health care, $268,510 or 9.9 percent; and special education out-of-district tuitions, $147,410 or 12 percent.

Other increases include a 2.2 percent, or $33,400 increase in transportation costs, and a 2.3 percent, or $19,000 increase in special education transportation.

The budget also included investments in technology including $96,000 for district-owned iPads, $50,000 for the continuation of a Smartboard lease, and $125,000 for the continuation of an HP desktop/laptop lease.

On the savings side, Maruszczak said that the district will see some reductions in electricity costs from the energy efficiency projects such as the solar car ports installed at Miscoe Hill School, and reductions in the textbook line as the district moves towards online textbooks.

State aid is also estimated to increase by $42,000 as the Governor's initial budget shows an increase in Chapter 70 funding of $20 per student, though this is still a moving target, said Maruszczak, noting,"It is still very early in the budget process."

Along with State Aid and local contributions, the budget will be funded with district receipts of $400,000 from the E&D (Excess and Deficiency) account, a $150,000 increase over last year, but a decrease of $45,000 from the revolving account.

After a few brief questions from the audience, the School Committee unanimously certified the budget.

The budget will now be presented to the towns of Upton and Mendon for approval during their Annual Town Meetings on May 4 and May 5, respectively. The district will also watch for the final House budget to be released in mid-April and the Senate budget which will be released in mid-May.


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