SOUTHBOROUGH – The Southborough School Committee got a first look this month at the district’s preliminary budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which is calling for an increase of 4.75 percent from the FY2022 budget.
The Public Schools of Southborough’s preliminary budget is being proposed at $22,767,484.
“It’s early on in the budget season, and there’s a lot of work to move forward with,” Superintendent Greg Martineau said on Dec. 8.
Inflation one of several variables influencing budget
Martineau said there are three variables in the budget. Two of the variables — Chapter 70 funding and new legislation and out of district special education funding — are typical in the school department’s budget process.
The new third variable is inflation.
“We are seeing rising costs in goods and services, and that inflation is something we are concerned about when we think about fiscal year ,” Martineau said.
In October, the school principals and administrators worked to create their preliminary budgets. Those initial requests came in at $23.9 million, which would be a $2.1 million increase from the 2022 fiscal year.
That was later reduced to the $22.8 million preliminary budget.
According to Martineau’s presentation, the district is anticipating just over $1 million in increases for instructional hardware, the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, collaborative tuitions and increases for salaries and cost of living.
Southborough is anticipating over $1 million in budget offsets coming in the form of retirements and offsets from the state’s Circuit Breaker reimbursements for Special Education and out-of-district placement-related transportation.
However, Martineau said the number of people who may be retiring is still unknown.
This preliminary budget does not include request for new positions, which totaled 5.6 full time equivalents (FTE) from principals and directors.
Those positions include a 2.0 FTE request for reading tutors, a 1.0 FTE request for an English language development tutor, a 1.5 FTE request for a Special Education teacher and a 0.5 FTE request for a team chairperson.
Additionally, staff requested 0.3 FTE for a human resources generalist and 0.3 FTE for a board certified behavior analyst. Those positions would be shared across Southborough, Northborough and the regional district.
Officials plan next step
The next step is for the Southborough leadership team to meet and identify priorities, including prioritized positions. In this step, the team will examine where there may be additional savings.
In the upcoming months, Martineau will present his recommended budget to the School Committee.
The School Committee will then hold a public hearing during its March 9 meeting.