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Town Council approves fiscal 2011 budget

May 31, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — With minimal debate, the Town Council approved a $49 million budget for fiscal 2011 last Wednesday, with only Albert Vecchia voting against it.

But with the state Senate also approving a budget that includes local aid and education cuts, the town and school district have already said they'll probably need to revisit their numbers this summer. The senate's plan still needs to be reconciled with the somewhat different House version before fiscal 2010 ends June 30.

Specifically, the senate plan cuts $184 million from education in general and $116 million from "Chapter 70" school transportation aid. According to MassBudget.org, however, if a district's Chap. 70 cut "would bring districts below their foundation level, the cut would be reduced in order to maintain all districts at the foundation budget amounts …. Thus, some districts would receive a smaller reduction while others would receive the full 4-percent cut…."

The website notes a key part of the difference this year is the fact that federal stimulus money is drying up — the Senate's budget has about $130 million less to use for schools this year than last. The House version allocates more than that, but its overall education budget is about $78 million less than the Senate's and nearly $130 million less than the governor's plan.

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

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