Shrewsbury Will Feel Governor's Education Cuts

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Gov. Deval Patrick's cuts to state aid to school transportation will be keenly felt in Shrewsbury.
Gov. Deval Patrick's cuts to state aid to school transportation will be keenly felt in Shrewsbury. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck (file)

SHREWSBURY, Mass. —  At a time when the school district hopes to recoup cuts in last year's budget, Shrewsbury is bracing itself for a loss of more than $225,000 in state aid to local government and education.

Gov. Deval Patick has already proposed education cuts in transportation that will directly affect Shrewsbury  budgets.

“If our luck holds, there will be no critical impact to the current budget, but it will be felt significantly in 2014,” said Shrewsbury School Superintendent Joseph Sawyer in his report to the school committee Wednesday.

Commonly known as 9C, Massachusetts law allows the governor to make cuts in order to balance the state's budget, as required by the state constitution, when it looks like tax revenue will be less than planned spending.

Sawyer said Patrick has asked for a 5 percent reduction in state reimbursement for high-cost students. The state currently reimburses 75 percent of the mandated cost.

As a result, Shrewsbury stands to lose $175,000 for the fiscal 2014 budget — money, according to Sawyer, that was expected this year and likely would have been reserved for Fiscal Year 2014, but also could have been used for unforeseen expenses for the current year

Patrick also is proposing cutting state aid to transportation of homeless students by half. That means the town's general fund will receive $50,000 less in fiscal year 2014 than in the previous year.

Finally, the governor's regional transportation cuts mean Shrewsbury will lose $1,000 to $2,000, based on the number of students the district buses to Assabet Vocational High School.

As the final kicker, Sawyer said Patrick is asking the legislature to cut general aid to local governments by 1 percent. If that should happen, Shrewsbury stands to lose around $25,000. Sawyer said he will be lobbying the town's state delegation to find another way to balance the budget.

Shrewsbury's school district is already exploring ways to raise money cut from its budget in May that resulted in the equivalent loss of more than 30 teaching positions. It's unclear what, if any, impact the 9C cuts would have on the district's efforts.

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When you boil it all down, it's really because Shrewsbury voted for Scott Brown. When you don't support investment in education, you don't receive any.