Westborough to request more special education funding


Westborough to request more special education fundingWESTBOROUGH – An article in this fall’s Town Meeting from the School Committee will ask for additional funds for special education out-of-district costs.

The question is how much.

During the Sept. 7 meeting, School Committee members discussed the issue with Superintendent Amber Bock and Director of Finance and Administration David Gordon.

In what Bock called an “anomaly,” eight students were placed in out-of-district special education programs during the 2022 fiscal year. That not only wiped out all of the district’s allocations for the 2023 fiscal year, but it left the schools with a shortfall of $539,000.

Over the summer, another student was placed in an out-of-district special education program, adding $89,833. Two more settlement agreements tacked on another $133,431, bringing the potential ask at Town Meeting to $762,264.

Throw in another two potential placements, and the total request could go as high as $938,235.

School Committee members Stephen Doret and Steven Bachelor requested that the committee go with the higher number, saying that number can always be reduced if the potential placements don’t happen.

Committee member Kristen Vincent said she was “uncomfortable with projections,” to which Doret replied that the projections were “probable.”

Should the funding request not be able to cover expenses, the deficit would have to be covered with cuts to the school budget.

“The bill has to be paid,” said Doret of the special education out-of-district costs.

The committee will discuss the article — and decide on a number — at its next meeting on Sept. 21.

The deadline to submit warrant articles for the Oct. 17 Town Meeting is Sept. 23.


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