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Southwick school budget shows slight increase for Fiscal Year 2012

Date: 3/22/2011

March 23, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

SOUTHWICK — School Superintendent Dr. Jay Barry presented a proposed Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Southwick-Tolland Regional School District budget projecting a 2.05 percent increase in spending at a public hearing on March 15.

Barry said the $19 million budget was drafted based on the figures Gov. Deval Patrick submitted to the House of Representatives for Chapter 70, transportation and circuit breaker reimbursements.

"If the numbers go down we'll have to increase revenue or decrease expenses," he said. "We're prepared for that."

Reflecting the proposal's stated budget goals of "further developing the district's capacity to direct remedial and enrichment services to targeted student populations," sustaining core instructional programs and class sizes and minimizing staff reductions, the budget as presented projected a $1,900 increase over Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) in general administrative spending, a $58,000 increase for Woodland Elementary School, an $89,000 increase for Powder Mill middle school and $113,000 for Southwick-Tolland Regional High School. Spending for special needs services was projected to increase by $22,000.

Barry said by using the numbers Patrick had submitted to the Legislature to draft the FY12 district budget, his finance department was able to calculate school funding assessments projecting a 1.3 percent increase for Southwick and a 6.5 percent increase for Tolland. He said these numbers were "reasonable, given the economic climate we're in."

Barry also explained that the jump in assessment for Tolland was not a function of the budget but "more a function of their target share" as calculated by a statewide formula.

"Given the property and income indicators for that community, they are behind in their ability to pay [what the state] has targeted as their share [of the school budget], he said.

Barry said the School Committee would be reviewing the proposed budget at its April 5 meeting. If approved, the figure would be submitted for town approval at the Annual Town Meeting.

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