By Joan Goodchild, Community Reporter
At a tri-board meeting of the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee held Sept. 13, the groups reviewed current budget issues and delved into potential budget deficits that may come into play in the future.
“[FY12] is in wait-and-see mode,” said Town Manager Daniel Morgado. “I haven's seen August numbers as of yet but suspect they will be trending along as expected.”
Morgado also said the town is anticipating having some additional levy capacity. State Rep. Matthew Beaton, R-Shrewsbury, recently informed Morgado that the state was appropriating $65 million back to towns and cities across the commonwealth. Shrewsbury's share of that funding is expected to be $170,000.
However, FY 2013 is “really a question mark at moment,” Morgado said. “We really don's know what the commonwealth has in store for us. I think a lot of it depends on what happens in Washington, D.C.”
Morgado said pressing questions that will only be answered once Congress takes action include federal education funding and what Morgado referred to as the “health insurance question” that hinges on whether the current health-care-reform law will remain intact.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph Sawyer said FY 2011 closed in a positive way and that the state had followed through with a pledge for 65 percent reimbursement on special education or so- called “Circuit-Breaker” funding. However, he noted future budgets will pose challenges as federal funds the town has had access to will no longer be forthcoming.
“We are using $1.28 million in federal stimulus funding this fiscal year,” he said. “That won’t be a part of the funding stream next year.”
On a positive note, Sawyer said, retention numbers had improved in the district. In one example, he noted that three years ago 32 students left Sherwood Middle School for the Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough. The forecasted number this year is just nine students, which Sawyer attributed to a new math program at Sherwood.