FRAMINGHAM – The proposed Framingham Public School District’s budget is an increase of almost $11 million to $165 million.
The proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget, for the 2023-24 school year, is an estimated 7.4% increase from the 2022-23 school year budget.
The 9-member School Committee has yet to vote on the budget, but is expected to do so at its March 29 meeting.
After the School Committee votes on the proposal, it goes to the Mayor, who will present the final budget to the 11-member City Council to vote on later this spring.
Last night, the School Committee held its annual public hearing on the budget.
Only 3 people were in the audience, including SOURCE, and only two people spoke on the budget, the Framingham Teachers Association President, who felt the schools needed more money, and former Town Meeting member Bob Bolles.
One major factor in the increase in the budget, is a proposed increased in Chapter 70 funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth is looking at providing an increase in $16 million to the City of Framingham/Framingham Public Schools.
The Framingham Teachers Association President Christine Mulroney wants all $16 million to go to the schools, but the Framingham Public Schools Executive Director of Business & Finance Lincoln Lynch IV said that some of the money is going to the municipal side because health insurance and benefits for the Framingham staff and teachers is not covered under the school budget but under the municipal budget.
The proposed new budget will add 53 new positions to the Framingham Public Schools.
Only 3 of the nine School Committee members spoke on the budget last night – its Chair Priscila Sousa, District 3 School Committee member Jennifer Moshe, and District 4 School Committee member Adam Freudberg.
Only Moshe & Freudberg had questions on the 100-page budget book.
District 2 School Committee member David Gordon was missing from the entire budget discussion. He attended the meeting late via Zoom.
The good news for taxpayers is that the local contribution for the School Budget is decreasing from $84.82 million this year to $80.06 million in FY24.
Tonight, there is a joint meeting between the School Committee’s Finance Subcommittee chaired by Freudberg and the City Council’s Finance subcommittee chaired by George P. King Jr. to discuss the proposed FY24 Framingham Public Schools budget. The Mayor is also expected to attend.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Blumer room in the Memorial Building. The public can attend in person or via Zoom.
Lynch said the district put together a needs-based budget.
The school district is entering year 3 of its bus contract with NRT.
Midway through March, and NRT is still failing to meet its contractural obligations in the contract. The bus company is supposed to supply 77 bus drivers for 77 routes. On the first day of school they only had 60 bus drivers. Mid-way through March, and they are struggling to even keep 60 drivers.
The bus contract for FY24 is estimated at more than $6 million.
Lynch said transportation for students who are homeless will be close to $1 million for FY24.
Lynch said there is also a 14% increase for tuition for students who will attend private schools. He said Framingham is not the only district dealing with this increase in the special education budget.