Northbridge School Board Begins Budget Process

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The Northbridge School Committee budget subcommittee begins the Fiscal Year 2014 budget process on Monday.
The Northbridge School Committee budget subcommittee begins the Fiscal Year 2014 budget process on Monday. Photo Credit: File

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – It will be months before Northbridge voters are asked to approve a Fiscal Year 2014 budget, but budget planning has already begun.

At a meeting of the School Committee last week, School Business Manager Melissa Walker submitted a budget timeline, and at a meeting of the committee’s budget subcommittee Monday, it reviewed a list of new positions sought at each school.

The new positions would increase the school budget by $648,000, Walker said. But the list is only what principals at each school have identified as a need — not every position will make it into the final budget, Schools Superintendent Nancy Spitulnik said.

But the preliminary list keeps the committee members “in the loop,” she said. Last year, a new position was requested soon after town meeting and board members wondered why it hadn’t been included in the budget.

“This is good. It’s a lot, but it’s good,’’ committee member Michael Lebrasseur said.

Spitulnik said she will meet with principals to see “exactly’’ where the needs are before finalizing any new positions.

“It’s hard to see which of our goals these are supporting,’’ committee Chairman Michael McGrath said.

Five of the requested new positions are in special education, which Spitulnik said would help all students, not just special needs students, improve MCAS scores.

Goals are being developed to make it easier to prioritize the new positions, Spitulnik said. “That’s what drives us, very concrete goals,’’ McGrath agreed.

Under the School Committee’s budget timeline, site managers at each school will submit needs-based budgets to Spitulnik from Dec. 3 to Dec. 6.

The budget subcommittee will review budget presentations from all schools and departments Jan. 15. It will meet again Jan. 29 to discuss the budget and recommendations it will make to the full committee.

Spitunlik will submit a draft budget to the School Committee, town manager and Finance Committee on Jan. 31 and present a recommended budget to the school board Feb 12.

On Feb. 15, she will present an updated budget to the town manager and the Finance Committee.

Final budget approval is expected March 12.

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