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Schools grapple with budget

'I just can't imagine going backwards'

March 16, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — To some school officials, the prospect of having to cut 4-5 percent from their fiscal 2011 budget due to reduced state aid is causing unwelcome memories of a few years ago.

"This year's budget is $22.6 million, $100,000 more than we asked for in '08," said Superintendent Dale Hanley. "That's three years ago."

School Committee Chairman John Jovan Jr. agreed, noting the district had similar funding back in 2004. For fiscal 2011, the schools are looking at a budget of $24,149,713, which he described as a "level-service budget" with just one of the additional priorities various administrators requested, an English as a Second Language director.

But last week, Town Manager Christopher Clark sent all town departments a memo asking them to propose two budgets — one that provides "level service for personnel and level funding for expenses excluding utilities" (stated above) and one with a 5-percent cut, Committee member Mary Ellen Prencipe said.

Hanley said he amended it to 4 percent Monday, but that's still just under $1 million.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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