Finalized State Funding Provides Money Beyond Braintree's FY2013 Budget
The state budget signed into law on Sunday means an extra $350,000 in general local aid above what Braintree used in its budget, as well as extra school money.
The $32.5 billion state budget signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Sunday includes higher-end local aid and education numbers, providing Braintree with nearly $600,000 more than what officials used as a basis for the town's fiscal year 2013 budget.
Most of the extra general local aid funding – $350,000 – will go into reserve accounts for use during the year and some will be used to alleviate compost overcrowding, Chief of Staff and Operation Peter Morin said.
The $237,000 in additional Chapter 70 education money will likely fund a housemaster and administrative assistant at the high school and an ELL teacher, depending on how the School Committee votes at its next meeting.
"It’s helpful that we received more aid than we forecast," Morin said. "It demonstrates that our legislative delegation are very sensitive to local communities.”
Braintree's $101 million operating budget for the year that started July 1 was approved by the Town Council in May and used the governor's proposed local funding numbers, which were for the most part lower than those put forward by the House and Senate.
Earlier this year, Patrick proposed $4,490,072 in local aid and $13,309,509 in Chapter 70 money for Braintree as part of a larger funding pot for cities and towns statewide. The budget he signed into law on Sunday contains $4,840,026 and $13,546,899, the House general aid number and the Senate Chapter 70 number.
"I am pleased the Legislature was able to increase Ch. 70 aid by $238 million, to a record amount of $4.171 billion," Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, said in a statement. "This figure includes $13.5 million for Braintree’s schoolchildren, an increase of $1.4 million."
Mayor Joseph Sullivan's budget proposals over the past five years have been based on the governor's local funding amounts, Morin said, aside from one year when the House had lower numbers.
"Generally speaking, we are very conservative on our estimates so that we won’t have to make reductions during the course of a fiscal year," Morin said.
School officials and parents have been engaged in discussion for the past few months about the anticipated extra education money, with Superintendent Dr. Peter Kurzberg and some School Committee members prioritizing the housemaster, administrative assistant and ELL positions, and Highlands, Flaherty and Morrison parents urging officials to address high class sizes.
Committee members will likely vote on whether to fund the three positions at their next meeting July 30, chair Shannon Hume said. If those are approved by the committee, there will be leftover Chapter 70 money that could be put toward the class size issue, Dr. Kurzberg said. The three positions would cost approximately $177,000.