By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Annual Town Meeting met May 20 in the Auditorium of Oak Middle School where, it was announced that Dr. Jane Lizotte, principal of Sherwood Middle School, will assume a new role within the School Department. On Monday, July 1, she will become assistant superintendent of community partnerships and well-being, a newly created position to address the increasing need to seek funding through other community resources and meet the social-emotional needs of the students.
School Committee Chair Sandy Fryc said that the position will be subsidized through a five-year, $400,000 partnership with Shrewsbury Federal Credit.
“Grants and sponsorships support the district in its educational vision in ways that would not be possible within the appropriated budget,” Fryc noted.
Her presentation outlined details of the FY20 $66 million school budget contained within the town operating budget of $120,394,398. She said that it was $2 million over FY19 and is a status quo budget, which would not allow the school department to fund new resources and to advance strategic priorities and goals.
“I think [seeking outside funding] is a trend and I think we are probably on the leading edge of that curve,” replied Superintendent Dr. Joseph Sawyer. “I think we are being innovative but certainly we have to continue to look very carefully how we are doing this year after year as we look into the future.”
Other discussion points at the meeting included the reorganization of staff in the Town Manager’s Office, new salary schedules and contractual service clarifications.
The legislative body passed the operating budget unanimously, without amending the bottom-line.
Articles pertaining to the creation of Enterprise Funds for water, stormwater and cable television public, educational and government access services were also approved.
“An Enterprise Fund is merely a mechanism of how we manage funds,” explained Town Manager Kevin Mizikar. “They provide a means to separately account for municipal services of a proprietary nature that is those services provided to individual customers for a charge similar to a private business. The goal here is really transparency and to effectively manage the funding related to our utility accounts.”
Town meeting then passed a series of solid waste, sewer and water capital budget and stormwater funding articles.
The town’s $2,441,500 General Capital Budget also passed and includes a Police Station-Municipal Campus Feasibility Study; equipment replacement for the fire, highway and police departments; and removal of underground oil tanks at Floral Street, Oak Middle and Shrewsbury High schools.