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Facing a Budget Gap, School District Cuts Six Positions

Six positions in the Mendon Upton Regional School District will be cut after a $326,000 gap in the budget was unable to be closed for FY20.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Maruszczak announced the cuts during the June 3 School Committee Meetings, stating that the staff affected were notified by the State requirement date of June 1.

The staff members are the Nipmuc Regional High School Library/Media Specialist, the Miscoe Hill School Library/Media Specialist, a Special Education Inclusion Teacher at Clough Elementary School, a District Tech Support Specialist, two half-time Academic Tutors at both Clough and Memorial Elementary Schools, and a Spanish Immersion Para-Professional. Maruszczak said the district will move to only one Spanish Immersion Kindergarten Class for both Memorial and Clough, resulting in a lottery for spots in the class.

"This is deleterious to the district and our programming and clearly represents regression for the district," said Maruszczak.

When making a decision about cuts, said Maruszczak, the goal of the district has always been to keep the academic core and reasonable class sizes intact.

It has been a challenging year for the district to close

the gap between Aid and Expenses. With only a $30 per pupil increase from the House and Senate Budgets, and flat reimbursement for Regional Transportation, the district has been looking at a sizable shortfall since the numbers were announced.

"We knew it was going to be challenging," said Maruszczak. "We knew we had to have certain things break our way, and unfortunately they did not."

With contractual increases in salaries of $650,000, an increase in health care insurance of $357,000, and increases in special education and transportation, and out-of-district Special Education placements, the low increase in Aid was "remarkably disappointing" said Maruszczak.

And if there isn't an increase in funding for the district, the district could be looking at more cuts in the future.

"We all know that FY21 is not going to be easier; in fact, it's probably going to be more difficult," he said.

Maruszczak suggested that the Budget Subcommittee start their meetings in June, and campaign to get the public involved in the efforts to increase Aid.

"Clearly additional revenue is needed," he said. "The onus is going to be on our two communities."

Maruszczak said it comes down to a simple question for the taxpayers.

"What are the types of programs, services and quality of schools do you want for your children in Mendon and Upton," he said.


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