The School Committee voted again Thursday to support its original budget, sending to Wenham Town Meeting a School Committee budget $500,000 higher than the school budget supported by Selectmen.
The school budget, which is part of the entire town budget, is Article 2 on the Town Meeting warrant.
begins at 1 p.m. at the gymnasium. A quorum of 141 voters – or 5 percent of the town’s registered voters - is required to conduct business.
Don Gallant, chairman of the School Committee’s Finance Working Group, said that the full School Committee met with the subcommittee before the School Committee's regular meeting on Thursday night.
After an extensive discussion, Gallant said the committee voted 6-2 to stand by its $27.65 million budget for fiscal 2012.
“At the end we voted 6-2 to stay with the we already approved,” Gallant said.
Selectmen in both towns are citing an expectation that this year’s budget will be underspent by more than $800,000 and state aid to education is expected to increase, among other reasons.
In an interview this week, School Committee Chairman Alexa McCloughan said without the higher budget number she couldn’t rule out possible service cuts and teacher cuts, although that’s not what is proposed in this existing budget.
Because the “giveback” would come from the school district’s excess and deficiency, or E and D account, it’s possible that it may not be large enough to cover unexpected expenses.
“We have not made any decisions to cut programs,” McCloughan said. But she said if the “giveback” remains at $500,000 she’s more concerned that cuts could be possible. “Any time you take money away you put things at risk.”
The Wenham Selectman and Finance Committee, in a two-page memo attached to this story, have outlined myriad of reasons for its continued support of a $500,000 giveback.
“The FinCom’s opinion is that the key question for voters is whether they want the (School Committee) to have over $1 million at its discretion, or whether voters want to have a say if the amount required is above $630,000,” the memo said.
Other articles of interest at Saturday’s Wenham Town Meeting will likely include Article 9, to consider whether will continue; Article 14 about on the car barn lot and Article 16, asking voters to have a say on the future of the.