School department to present budget


SOUTHWICK – The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee are hosting the first of two budget sessions Saturday.
Town departments will offer preliminary budgets during two sessions, one Feb. 2 and the other Feb. 16, both in the Land Use Hearing Room in Town Hall beginning at 8 a.m.
First up this Saturday is the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District, with 45 minutes planned for the presentation.
Superintendent Dr. John Barry and Business Manager Steve Presnal have been crunching numbers since Gov. Deval Patrick announced his budget last week.
“The governor’s budget has an increase in the minimum contributions for the three district towns,” Presnal said.
When all is said and done, Barry said the increase would likely amount to about an additional one percent in local aid. While Presnal stressed that the current budget is a work in progress and will change several times before it is finalized, they are working on providing level service.
“We are trying to get the numbers to reflect a level service budget,” Barry said.
During the last School Committee meeting, Barry indicated there could be internal cuts.  However, he said Wednesday that he and Presnal are not looking at layoffs as part of the budget.
“We don’t anticipate layoffs and we don’t anticipate loss of programs,” Barry said.
Barry said other than the temporary relocation of the preschool program to Granville Village School next year, all Woodland Elementary School programs should remain intact, as will Powder Mill Middle School and Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional High school programs.
“We’re actually looking to add volleyball,” Barry said of the high school offerings. “Foreign language is doing well, too.”
Presnal said he is watching the federal government closely, but Barry said what happens there should not heavily impact the district.
“If we don’t get a budget at the federal level there will be some decreases, but federal grants are not a big part of our budget,” said Barry. “It’s just something we are watching at this point.”
Barry said while the budget numbers are constantly moving at this point, he and Presnal are working with a three-four percent increase over last year’s budget and level services.
Barry said they are also conscious that the debt exclusion for the school project takes effect next year.
“We understand the debt for the project will hit taxpayers next year so we’re trying to balance that out,” said Barry, noting that the schools will keep its promise of lowering capital expenses during the debt payoff years.
Presnal said the budget must be finalized by April 1. A public hearing on the budget will take place in March.

To Top