SHREWSBURY, Mass. — The Shrewsbury School District is recommending a $54 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of $4.4 million or 8.85 percent more than the current budget.
Superintendent Joseph Sawyer, Assistant Superintendent Mary Beth Banios and Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Melissa Maguire presented the budget recommendation during Wednesday's School Committee meeting.
The district had been "muddling through” with underfunded budgets for years, Sawyer said. It is time to restore funds, he said.
The demands on the schools “have increased while key resources have decreased," Banios said. For example, the high school's advanced placement science program is in danger of losing its accreditation because its 10-year-old textbooks are out of date.
One goal is to reduce class sizes. A total of 31 new teachers would need to be hired to bring all classes within the committee's guidelines. But the recommended budget includes $1.1 million, which would create only 21.5 new teaching positions.
Other costs would include:
• Special education, behavioral and mental health personnel: $720,000.
• Special education tuition and transportation: $467,000.
• Technology upgrades, including iPads for Oak Middle School and Shrewsbury High School: $526,000.
• A new Beal School principal, a director of foreign languages and a middle schools mathematics coordinator: $260,000.
• Textbooks and training for teachers: $292,000.
• Safety and security upgrades: $114,000.
This budget would be the first step in restoring resources that have been cut over the past several years, said School Committee members, including Jason Palitsch and John Samia.
Town Meeting voters, however, will have the final say. In his written recommendation, Sawyer said: “While it is unlikely that the town will have sufficient resources to meet this budget request, it is important to illustrate the resources I believe would be necessary to ring our existing program forward.”
A public hearing on the school budget will be held Feb. 13.