The Board of Education on Tuesday night approved over a half-million dollars in cuts to its 2012-13 budget to reach the final spending package approved by the Representative Town Meeting.
Two weeks ago, the RTM voted 27-21 to reduce the board's proposed budget of $149,464, 941 by $250,000 after originally suggesting a cut of $2.9 million. The 50-member legislative body approved the much smaller reduction on top of a $278,477 cut to the pension account by the Board of Finance in endorsing final spending of $148,936,464 for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
This fiscal year's education budget is $145.2 million.
Prior to the board's formal vote to lower its budget by a total of $528,477, Superintendent of Schools David Title presented a list of proposed areas where the $250,000 in cuts imposed by the RTM would fall.
The largest suggested cut was $70,000 with two teacher retirements, and a $50,000 reduction for refuse and recycling removal by requiring it on an as-needed basis during summer.
Title's other cuts included $47,000 to student information software, $24,095 in professional development, $15,000 to fuel tanks, $12,000 to special education assisted technology and $10,000 in both enrollment projection and technical consulting.
"We really tried to make these adjustments as low-impact (to services) as possible and that we would do our best to absorb these within the appropriation," Title said.
Title said he's "very thankful" that he had to draw up a list of only $250,000 in additional cuts because of the "potential of going through what we went through last year was looming, and it was not particularly inviting."
Some school board members expressed concern over the proposed reduction to the professional development account.
"Since November, I have seen five or six new curriculums rolled out in front of us and you have professional development being cut by almost $25,000," he said. "I'm loathe to make that reduction knowing the curriculum rollouts and the effect that's going to have."
Gary Rosato, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said the cut targets 13 program areas in the district.
"Many of them are just a reduction of a few hundred dollars," he said. "The numbers are not that large."
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