“We didn’t have a school budget until two days before our budget meeting on the School Department,” she said. “We all have to take responsibility for looking at what comes out when it comes out.”
Several School Committee members lamented the fact that the town manager held a meeting to discuss local aid and free cash without inviting everyone.
Gilbert noted, “In the past, the School Committee has been included in those discussions. I guess that’s no longer the case.”
The School Committee in early March proposed a budget of $72.1 million, an increase of about 4 percent over last year’s budget. Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski recommended a budget of $71.3 million — a reduction of about $881,000.
Selectmen then sought to trim an additional $400,000 from the school budget request, bringing the total request to $70.9 million — which is still a $2 million increase over the current year’s spending plan.