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School Committee approves $121M FY’24 School Dept. Budget

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By Barbara Taormina


The School Committee reviewed and voted to approve the 2024 School Department’s $121,711,646 budget this week.

School Committee member Michael Ferrante, chair of the committee’s Ways & Means subcommittee, presented the numbers, but acknowledged it has been a challenge to gather exact figures. “I think there are three different versions of the budget and the numbers are always moving,” Ferrante told fellow committee members.

Still Ferrante was able to provide the committee with some significant changes and highlights. The biggest change, he told the committee, was a $14 million increase over last year in Chapter 70 funding or state aid for education. Ferrante went on to say that the district is increasing staff with 98 new members. Ferrante said the district intends to hire 57 new classroom teachers, 13 instruction coordinators, 19 paraprofessionals, seven parent information aides and three psychologists.

Ferrante turned the presentation over to Assistant Superintendent Richard Gallucci to explain the district’s investment in flip locks, a security device that acts as a barricade and makes it impossible to open doors. Gallucci said the new security devices also avoid asking students to take part in training to barricade classrooms. According to Gallucci, the locks, which cost $15 each, can be transferred to the new high school.

A question was raised about the 60 percent increase in salaries for the School Committee members. “This School Committee has never received a raise in 18 years,” said committee member Stacey Bronsdon-Rizzo, who added that the new salary was comparable to other nearby cities. Salaries for School Committee members will increase from $6,000 to $10,000.

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