Westborough School Committee approves 2024 budget

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Gibbons Middle School is located off Fisher St. in Westborough.
Gibbons Middle School is located off Fisher St. in Westborough.
(Photo/Dakota Antelman)

WESTBOROUGH – It took some trimming, some rearranging and a lot of discussions, but the Westborough Public Schools’ budget for fiscal 2024 has arrived.

During its Dec. 14 meeting, the School Committee approved a budget totaling $63,539,476. This budget is $2.49 million, or 4.1%, more than fiscal 2023.

The increase was fueled by several factors, including inflation, contract negotiations and a state authorization regarding out-of-district tuition placements. However, school officials said they tried to tamp down the increases as much as possible.

“We’ve done as good a job as we could do,” said School Committee member Stephen Doret.

However, Doret added that the budget may have “tough sledding” at Town Meeting after voters rejected articles to fund an expansion of the Westborough Public Library at a Special Town Meeting on Dec. 10.

How it evolved

According to Director of Finance and Administration David Gordon and Superintendent Amber Bock, the school budget for 2024 reflects the impact of cost increases in electricity, materials, maintenance and other items.

The district is also negotiating new contracts with its unions, including the teachers.

A big concern was a 14% hike in out-of-district tuition costs authorized by the state in early November. That increase was factored into the budget, and Bock said the schools will be receiving $400,000 from the state’s circuit breaker. However, Westborough is anticipating there may be fewer out-of-district placements.

The district will allocate $400,000 for tuition placements.

The budget will now be sent to the Select Board and the Advisory Finance Committee.

“We’re in good standing right now,” said committee Chair Lisa Edinberg.

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