HUDSON – The Hudson Public Schools will be getting a $600,000 increase in its budget appropriation for the 2024 fiscal year, Town Executive Assistant Thomas Gregory said at the March 13 Select Board meeting.
Gregory said the governor’s budget numbers came out in the first week of March and were “substantially higher” than expected. For Hudson, the actual funds were $633,804 higher than the number included in the December budget.
Due to this increase in Chapter 70 funding, he recommended an additional $600,000 be included in the appropriation for the Hudson Public Schools to make the number $43,305,340, which represents a 4.19% increase over the previous fiscal year.
“I shared the information with the superintendent, with [Director of Finance and Operations Daniel] Gale,” he added. “So this would be one budget figure I would be asking for a revote on this evening.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the new budget number for the Hudson schools.
The Select Board also heard the numbers for the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School’s 2023 fiscal year budget from the Superintendent Ernest Houle. The $3.3 million budget was approved by the board.
As Gov. Maura Healey’s budget has had a “historic investment” in public education, Houle said the expenditure per student has gone from 10 to 6%.
The increase in the transportation reimbursement funds made the reimbursement rate 90%.
“It has never been at 100%,” said Houle. “It’s been anywhere between 60 and 80% [as] the highest.”
He said that for the past couple of years, the district has spent under the required amount per student. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has asked that the school meet the minimum expenditure. As a result, Assabet spent an additional $737,000 in the 2022 fiscal year.
In the current fiscal year, the school will have to use an additional $473,934 to put it at 118.2% above the usual spending. This is the typical budget that they present when coming before a select board of one of their member towns.
Houle said the student enrollment numbers for Hudson for the minimum local contribution was 205, and the difference from the previous year was $143,708.
In terms of enrollment, he said the school has 61 additional students this year, which came to a 6.4% increase in the in-district student population. The number of assessments are directly affected if more in-district students attend Assabet. With a reduction in the out-of-district students, there is less cost to the school to offset the in-district increase.
Out-of-district students seeking to enroll must submit a recommendation letter from a coach or counselor and come for an interview. He said there are 300 spots for which approximately 600 applicants could be applying.
With the school funding going up, Houle noted the 961 total students give the school a 21.6% increase over last year. He said the approved budget is $25.2 million.
Houle said he was pleased with the peer reviews the school recently underwent, especially in the areas of support for special education and general education students. In fact, Houle said they are looking to add back in a school adjustment counselor position to the budget.
Select Board member Michael Burks asked about the racial breakdown of the student body. Houle did not have the information on hand, but he said there are 68 English language learners and about 4% of the population was African American.