MARLBOROUGH – Thanks to increased enrollment and a hike in state aid, there will be a bigger budget for the Assabet Valley Regional Technical/Vocational School District for fiscal 2024.
On Tuesday, March 7, the Assabet School Committee approved a proposed budget of $25,288,374. According to Superintendent-Director Ernest Houle, that number will remain unless there are changes to Chapter 70 state aid or minimum local contribution numbers.
The 2024 fiscal year operating budget will include $23,475,499 – a 12.5% increase due to the addition of 61 indistrict students – and a capital budget of $1,812,875 (the eighth debt service payment from the building repair project done in 2016).
There will be more funds coming from the state – a $1.6 million hike in Chapter 70 aid, and a nearly $100,000 boost in regional transportation reimbursement.
Total increases for fiscal 2024 are estimated at around $2.6 million.
“The Assabet Valley RVSD takes pride in the rigorous academics and high-quality career and technical education that we provide our students and our communities,” said Houle.
He noted that the budget, which is developed based on spending requirements set forth by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by district, reflected an increase in funding due to the additional students.
“We appreciate the continued support of our school district over these past 49 years,” said Houle.
The budget will help cover increased costs in transportation for special education, homeless and foster family students; increases in salaries for instructors and guidance counselors; textbooks and equipment for special education students; rental of equipment and supplies for athletics; custodial supplies; natural gas; and solid waste and recycling services.
Just over $1.8 million will go toward the debt service of the building repair project done in the 2016 fiscal year.
Joe Giarusso, president of the Assabet Valley Federation of Teachers Local 3199, said he is in favor of the increase in the proposed budget. He cited the need for competitive salaries to keep faculty at the school, along with the need for more staff for ESL and special needs students.
Enrollment for fiscal 2024 is expected to be 1,188 students, including 971 from within the district (951 students, plus 20 enrolled in the programs for cosmetology and licensed practical nursing).
Each community within the district is assessed based on the community’s local property and income wealth; this is known as the minimum local contribution.
Other factors include state funding, transportation costs and long-term debt service.
Each community’s assessment for fiscal 2024 includes the minimum local contribution, busing costs, payment to the OPEB Trust Fund and long-term debt service.
The community breakdown comes to this for a total of $14,746,355:
- Berlin – $771,568
- Hudson – $3,301,238
- Marlborough – $6,541,742
- Maynard – $1,269,349
- Northborough – $1,301,581
- Southborough – $436,423
- Westborough – $1,124,454