NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The fiscal year 2014 budget proposal for the Northbridge School District was presented to the School Committee on Tuesday by Business Manager Melissa Walker and Schools Superintendent Nancy Spitulnik.
The $25.1 million proposal, which would be a 1.99 percent increase over fiscal year 2013, could change, though, depending on the governor’s budget, Walker said.
Under the current state budget plan, Northbridge would receive $15.2 million in state Chapter 70 funding for schools, just $175,032 more than last year, Walker said. And unlike the two previous years, federal stimulus funds will not be available.
She also expects school grants would be $161,539 less than in fiscal year 2013, which would decrease even further if the federal sequestration goes into effect as expected Friday.
The town’s share of the budget, which has been “relatively level’’ over the past six years, is expected to be $5.9 million, a $100,000 increase, Walker said.
In 2007, the town’s contribution was $7.7 million, but was cut to $4.8 million during the budget crisis of 2008, she said in her presentation.
Before the governor’s budget was released, the school district had planned a $500,000 budget increase. With the notice of a lower-than-expected increase in state aid, school administrators reworked proposals and reduced the budget request by $310,000. The bulk of budget reductions were achieved through salary adjustments, she said.
The 1.9 percent increase is due to contractual salary increases, reorganization of positions and an increase in supplies and services.
In addition to Chapter 70 and the town’s contribution, the school budget is funded with grants and revolver funds. The revolvers are Walker’s greatest concern in the coming years.
This year, the plan is to use $2.8 million from the revolver account. “Revolver spending increased drastically while revolver revenue is decreasing,’’ she said.
The account is on track to be depleted by fiscal year 2015, she said.
Over the past 10 years, the town has grown by more than 2,500 people, and 37 percent of households have children under the age of 18.
Though the number of special needs students have remained stable, the services needed by those children has increased, she said. Special needs program services now account for 31.2 percent of the school budget, Walker said.
“Significant future increases to the appropriation are needed to sustain the School Department’s budget,’’ she said.
The School Committee will present an updated budget to Town Manager Theodore Kozak and the Finance Committee on March 1 and will make a formal presentation to the Finance Committee on March 6.