G-M preliminary  school budget approved

TURNERS FALLS — Approved at a special meeting this week after its initial failure last week, the Gill-Montague Regional School District’s preliminary budget for the upcoming school year totals $17,292,956, a 4.4 percent increase over this year.

Under the new preliminary budget, Montague’s preliminary assessment is $8,216,394, a $365,790, or 4.7 percent, increase over this year’s. Gill’s preliminary assessment comes to $1,475,568, a $67,510, or 4.8 percent, increase.

The interim superintendent and business office contractors have called this a level-services budget, intended to maintain services at the same level rather than costs, as in a levelfunding budget.

The figures have changed from the preliminary budget up for a vote last week, presented prior to Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget proposal the day following the meeting.

The preliminary budget proposal failed at last week’s regularly scheduled meeting, with two members of the seven present opposed, prompting the special meeting Tuesday evening.

Preliminary budget approval requires a two-thirds majority of the nine-member committee. With all nine present Tuesday, the budget passed 8-1.

Member Sandra Brown again voted against the budget, which she has said is unsustainable and criticized for a lack of town inclusion in the process.

Member Marjorie Levenson, who last week voted against the budget, voted in favor this week saying she remains opposed to the budget but would vote in favor in order to move the process forward.

Under the regional agreement, the district must have a tentative budget on or before Feb. 1 to send out to the member towns.

Last week, Andrew Paquette of business office contractor The Management Solution presented the budget as his company’s preliminary product, with the next step input from the relevant stakeholders.

Changes from last week’s budget proposal include an $80,000 decrease to the sum to be taken from the district’s excess and deficiency stabilization account, a change Paquette sad was made to bring the number more in line with the “Table B” financial scenario on which the 2010 budget compact between the towns and the school district is based.

Changes to the budget assumptions following the state budget proposal resulted in a net revenue increase of $151,112 and a net expense increase of $174,247, according to Management Solution figures.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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