Wrentham Elementary School Committee Greenlights Budget
The school committee submits a $9.7 million budget to the finance committee.
The Wrentham Elementary School Committee decided to approve a $9.7 million budget proposal at its meeting Tuesday night.
The proposed budget would be a 7.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2012's $9 million budget.
Superintendent Jeffrey Marsden said, after years of low budgets, the time had come to reinvest in the district. He said, in fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012, the district had seen a budget cut of one percent, a flat budget and a budget increase of 4.2 percent, respectively.
Most school budgets, Marsden said, increase every year.
"In fiscal year 2010, we lost four classroom teacher positions that we have not gotten back and 17 aides. In fiscal year 2011, we had to cut 17 aides' hours," he said. "Right now is the time to start rebuilding our district."
Marsden pointed out that Wrentham's per-pupil spending had lagged behind that of its Norfolk and Plainville neighbors. Wrentham spends $10,506 per pupil, while Norfolk spends $12,202 and Plainville spends $11,873.
"We just broke $10,000 this year," Marsden said. "In 2006, Norfolk was already at $10,000."
He told the committee that the district had been fiscally responsible, funding about 30 employees through grants and tuition instead of the school budget.
Marsden said one of the cost drivers in the new budget was the loss of the federal Education Jobs bill. The district will also be looking to add some positions, like an academic curriculum leader, a team chairperson for special education and a part-time librarian.
"We want to reinvest in technology," he said. "We certainly have many machines that are eight to ten years old. We also want to make sure we have wireless so we can use tablets — right now, that's only available in the annex."
The budget will now go on to the town's Finance Committee.