School Committee Presents Budget Increase Drivers

By Lizzie Seibert

FinanceCommitteeThe School Committee presented its preliminary budget proposal at the Finance Committee’s December 1 meeting. Superintendent Jon Sills explained that the school budget will need to increase by at least $455,000 for next year, but the Committee may need to ask for an increase of up to $675,000. Those amounts would be an increase request of 2.95 percent to 4.75 percent.

Sills cites enrollment numbers as the main driver. Each of Bedford’s schools saw an increase in enrollment this year, particularly JGMS (John Glenn Middle School), which Sills said was “unexpected.” Bedford’s ­­SAIL program for children with autism is also growing, and Sills projects that Bedford will need an additional classroom for these children next year.

Because of increasing enrollment, the School Committee anticipates a need for more art and music teachers at JGMS, more teaching assistants for SAIL and Bedford’s other Special Education programs, as well as funding for additional maintenance, coaches, and equipment to accommodate these students and their activities.

The Finance Committee plans to set a budget guideline for the school department and all other town departments at their meeting this Thursday, December 8. Finance Committee members briefly discussed the School Committee’s budget goals, which will be the subject of upcoming meetings as the School Committee formulates its final budget proposal.


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