Westborough School Superintendent Marianne O'Connor recommended a $42,799,208 school budget for next year, a 3.67 percent increase, Wednesday night.
The request includes a .6 net increase in staff, O'Connor told the school committee. The school district would add 4.6 full-time-equivalent positions, representing a full-time grade-level teacher and reinstating a full-time reading teacher, both at the Mill Pond School, and a full-time special education teacher at the Gibbons Middle School, she said. Four full-time positions would be reduced: two Kindergarten to grade three grade-level teachers, one at the Hastings Elementary School and one at the Fales Elementary School, due to enrollment shifts; and two special education para-educators.
O'Connor said $150,000 to $200,000 in requests were removed from the budget recommendation. She said "administrators were directed to include only essential personnel/resources that would be required to meet student needs."
The schools have gone "six years without increases in supplies and materials," O'Connor said.
"Nothing that the administrators have asked for are frivolous," she said.
The school committee will vote on a budget request Dec. 19, when its 6:30 p.m. budget public hearing is scheduled, Chairman Ilyse Levine-Kanji said.
"We're five people, and we're interested in hearing what the community has to say," she said.
O'Connor said the schools' budget challenges include a student population with complex "abilities and disabilities," and a growing number of students whose parents are from outside the United States.
"Approximately 42 different languages are spoken here in Westborough," O'Connor said. And right now, 282 students "whose primary language is not English" are expected to attend Westborough schools next year, she said.
The loss of state and federal funding is among the other budget challenges, O'Connor said.
The schools received $1,214,384 in state and federal funding for the current school budget, 35.78 percent less than the year before, she said.
Next year's state and federal funding amounts are unknown, O'Connor said.
"The things that we can control, we're trying to control," she said.
"The things that we can't control are difficult."
The school district is expected to have 552 full-time-equivalent employees and serve 3,599 students next year, she said.
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