Northborough/Southborough school district proposes $26 million preliminary budget


drone photo of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough by Tami White
Drone photography shows sun shining on Algonquin High School earlier this year. (Photo/Tami White)

NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough’s preliminary budget for the 2023 fiscal year would include a 4.52% increase over the current year, according to a presentation to the Regional School Committee last month. 

That translates to an increase of about $1.1 million for a total cost of just over $26.1 million. 

“I will caution that we are very early in the budget process, and there are a lot of unknowns at this point in time,” Superintendent Greg Martineau said on Dec. 15.

Outside factors remain uncertain

Algonquin Regional High School staff and administrators identified budget priorities back in October and November. They then prepared a budget to present to the central office. 

The central office team subsequently reviewed the requests to present the preliminary budget to the School Committee.

Martineau emphasized that there were some unknowns when it came to the regional budget. 

He said Gov. Charlie Baker’s state budget is “very important” to the regional school district’s budget because of factors such as the minimum local contribution and both Chapter 70 and Circuit Breaker funding for schools. 

“Usually, we have a good indication of what the landscape will look like at the end of January,” Martineau said.

Other variables include inflation and the district’s health insurance costs, which may change after its previous provider left the market. 

Martineau said the district is partnering with Northborough and Southborough town governments to maximize its pool, which Martineau said staff believe will result in favorable rates.  

Preliminary budget trims projected increase

The initial budget requests came in at about $27 million. 

Martineau said that, in talking to Northborough and Southborough officials, that number, which would have marked a 8.3% increase from FY2022, wasn’t feasible. 

Staff reduced the increase by just under $950,000 to get to the $26 million preliminary budget. 

Martineau said the district is projecting $1.1 million in increases when it comes to instructional materials, textbooks, classroom instructional technology devices, transportation, insurance and special education out of district transportation. 

The district is anticipating an increase of $688,126 in salaries and cost of living adjustments, which is the largest single projected increase. 

It is entering the third year in its contract with the Algonquin Regional Teachers Association. 

Among the budget requests not included in this preliminary budget were 2.7 full-time equivalent positions ranging from a drama educator to five varsity assistant coach positions. 

The Regional School Committee will discuss the budget again at a meeting currently planned for Jan. 19.

There will be a public hearing on the budget on March. 16.


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