By Luke Canavan
FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Public Schools is proposing a $147.5 million budget for the 2021-2022 school year currently, which is a $4.2 million increase from their current budget.
Members of the Framingham School Committee met virtually with members of the City Council’s Finance Subcommittee tonight, March 15 to discuss the Fiscal year 2022 budget.
The 9-member School Committee is scheduled to vote on the budget at a March 31 meeting.
The budget then must be presented to the Mayor, who then submits a total budget to the City Council for approval in June 2021.
The Framingham Public Schools is looking at a proposed #147,506,265. This is a dollar increase of $4,256,831 from last year, or a percent increase of 2.97%.
The target amount for the final school budget to be submitted to the Mayor is $146,830,670, which would mean the current plan for the budget needs to be lowered by $675,595, or 0.47% in order to hit this goal.
One of the main concerns that the City Council’s subcommittee voiced was making sure that the School Committee and those working on the budget were being entirely transparent with where the money is going.
“There’s a lot of complexities this year that haven’t been here in the past,” said City Council Chair George King Jr.. “We have to understand where the money is coming from, understand the sustainability end of it, how we’re spending it, what we can do going forward, [and] what we can’t.”
“We have to make sure that this budget is not top heavy, and that we’re using this money to focus on direct services to kids and teachers,” said King.
A big part of the reasoning for the increase in budget over the years is that the Committee has been forced to play catch up with inadequate funding from previous years.
“What the Student Opportunity Act is trying to do is catch up from years and years of underfunding, specifically for special education tuitions,” said Framingham Public Schools Director of Finance and Operations Lincoln Lynch IV.
It is still somewhat early on in the process of deciding the budget, but the School Committee feels they are off to a good start. They look forward to hearing the Mayor’s thoughts, as well as public comment from the Framingham community at a scheduled budget hearing later this month.