WESTBOROUGH – Westborough Public Schools (WPS) has begun planning its budget for fiscal 2025.
For the past several meetings, Superintendent Amber Bock has presented preliminary numbers to the School Committee.
“There are a lot of numbers, but we’re in a good place,” Bock told the committee on Nov. 15.
There will be some increases factored into the budget, mostly fixed costs such as contractual increases, transportation, utilities and technology upgrades.
Bock said most of the increases are forecast to be smaller than in fiscal 2024. One area that will see a smaller bump in the budget – special education out-of-district placements.
Last year, WPS had to absorb a 14% increase; for fiscal 2025 the increase will be about 4.69%.
Technology is expected to increase about 11.6%; the extra costs will go toward wifi upgrades, new laptops for faculty; security cameras; and workbooks.
Bock would also like to add staff, mainly extra support to the English language learners program to help with the influx of newcomers to the area.
WPS is also fielding budget requests from the schools, ranging from classroom furniture to replacing lacrosse helmets.
Kelly Giacopello, the schools’ new director of buildings and grounds, provided an update on upcoming capital projects.
The project to restore the roof at Mill Pond Elementary School is currently out to bid. Slated to cost about $1.1 million, the roof will have a new sealant installed. She said the project comes with a 20-year warranty, and it will cost less than replacing the roof.
The project to bring Hastings Elementary School up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board, will be going out to bid. This project, with an approximate cost of $5 million, will replace doors, restrooms and install ramps to make the school more accessible.
The roof replacement projects at the high school come in three parts – the exterior rim; the C wing science roof; and the A and B wing roof replacement.
Giacopello said funds are being sought for design work so that they may have a “firm bid in hand” at a future Town Meeting.
Some “long-range” projects could include an upgrade to the schools’ air conditioning and work on the high school’s bathrooms.
Work remains to be done on the 2025 budget, including finalizing salary line items and to prioritize requests.
The budget was scheduled for a public hearing at the School Committee meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
The committee is scheduled to vote on the 2025 budget on Wednesday, Dec. 13, and have it before the Select Board and Advisory Finance Committee on Friday, Dec. 22.