The following is from the Acton Boxborough Regional and Transitional School Committees:
It is with great urgency that we ask you to come to Acton Town Meeting on April 7th continuing on April 8th and 9th as needed, to support the Acton Boxborough Regional School District (ABRSD) Assessment, Warrant Article 21, and three school-related Warrant Articles numbered 22-24, which serve to implement the transfer of the school buildings and other assets from the town to the District as planned for by the new Regional Agreement.
Of note, this is not a typical year. It is the first time our town is voting on just one school district assessment, and one that covers educational services from Pre-K through Grade 12. It is the result of the first budget for our newly expanded region, effective July 1, 2014. We have put forth a budget that addresses the District’s top priorities yet compromises between what our students need and what we believe our two towns are able and willing to pay. The ABRSD budget, approved by the School Committee on March 20th results in a 4.47% increase in the Acton assessment, largely due to the fact that the ratio of Acton students to Boxborough students is increasing year to year, as has been the case for several years.
This budget was developed in accordance with the Acton Finance Committee’s “Point of View” document, and contains significant required increases in SPED costs, OPEB contributions, and health insurance costs. Sustainability has been and will continue to be a key consideration throughout our budget planning process. In fact, while we anticipate that the major budget drivers of this year’s budget will not increase at the same rate moving forward, we have also decreased personnel, district-wide, by eight full-time positions.
Developing a budget for three previously separate school districts proved to be challenging, and the resulting timeframe to vet the budget across the town’s various boards and committees was compressed. We have since vowed to improve these budget communications across town next year. Acton has a long history of supporting our schools, and your support at Town Meeting will help to ensure the continued tradition of excellence that we enjoy.