NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – A preliminary school budget of $25.2 million for fiscal year 2014 will be presented to the Northbridge School Committee at a meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 26.
At a meeting of the Board of Education’s Budget Subcommittee, school district business manager Melissa Walker said about $6 million will be requested from taxpayers at the May 7 spring Town Meeting.
The remainder of the funding would come from Chapter 70 state aid, projected to be $15.2 million this year as well as $1 million in grants and $3 million from the department’s revolver account.
Looking to the fiscal year 2015 budget, Walker said she was worried because the revolver account, made up of athletic and other fees, would be depleted.
“We know we can fund 2014; it’s what happens in 2015’’ that is her concern. “Two years out, I’m guessing we’ll be $68,000 in the hole,’’ she said. That estimate doesn’t include salary increases from negotiations.
“Where do we want to go; Do we build a budget now that carries us through to 2015, or do we budget what we need now?" Walker said.
The proposed budget suggests a few new positions that school administrators and the school board consider important, including an engineering teacher at the middle school.
“Yes, we would like to have that engineering class in the middle school, but don’t want to put in a new position knowing it will have to be cut in ’15,’’ School Superintendent Nancy Spitulnik said.
The subcommittee discussed cutting the budget proposal by about $260,000 by eliminating new positions but chose instead to go ahead with the $25.2 million proposal.
The budget will be presented to the full School Committee on Feb. 26, to the Finance Committee on March 6 and at a public hearing on March 16.