HUDSON — The Hudson School District is in negotiations with Dr. Brian Reagan, who was recently tapped to become the new superintendent. Although there is no timeline, School Committee Chair Michele Tousignant Dufour said the hope is to secure a contract by the end of April.
Reagan would assume the role of superintendent on July 1 once a contract is successfully negotiated.
Hudson school budget
At the April 4 School Committee meeting, the budget was approved for $46.9 million with the town assessment for that amount set at $43.3 million.
Tousignant Dufour said she was impressed with the work done by Superintendent Marco Rodrigues and Director of Finance and Operations Dan Gale to produce a transparent budget book.
She said, “It’s a narrative as well. We all know numbers can tell stories.”
The story in this case is what the funds can do for the students and the community, she said, and transparency can make it easy to vote for and explain how the money is being spent.
Rodrigues said the budget is 3.8% more than last year, which is due in part to salaries.
One important aspect of the budget is the revenue gap. The gap will continue into the fiscal year 2024 budget, and they are exiting the pandemic era budget with “some deficit” because of the loss of ESSER (short for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds that were meant to offer COVID-related cost relief.
“We have no additional money to actually support new growth,” said Rodrigues.
He noted that the School Committee will see new positions in the budget, but not new funding. They are utilizing funds they currently have, he said.
Rodrigues said, “We are reallocating resources.”
This is the strategy being used to create a new position they may need to support students, according to Rodrigues.
“The need of our schools continue to be growing exponentially every year,” he said.
However, a reserve-based approach is needed to allow the budget-makers to add positions like a reading specialist or preschool teacher.
Committee member Mark Terra-Salomão noted that “some many folks in the superintendent search process” loved the work done by Gale.
He added, “It’s recognized outside of our districts as well.”
They voted separately for the budget lines as follows: $36,822,456 for personnel, $7.7 million for general expenses and $2,314,818 for transportation.
Gale explained the rest of the budget after the $43.3 million town appropriation is composed of Special Education, circuit breaker and school choice funds.
The School Committee also heard from Hudson resident Kali Coughlan, who runs the MetroWest Food Collaborative and is a community health coordinator in the town’s health department. Her daughter is a first-grader at Forest Ave. Elementary School.
She encouraged the committee to consider doing a resolution in support of universal school meals and a related bill on the issue at the Massachusetts legislature. Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow) and Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Marlborough) have been supportive of the bill, she noted.
She added, “There is a bill at the state level that is trying to pass universal school meals, to make it permanent.”
Coughlan is an advocate of kids getting free meals in school and compared it to them not paying for their books and additional educational tools. She also believed that “the federal government should be paying for it.”
Brian Reagan picked as next Hudson superintendent