Proposed Algonquin Budget Cut By $170,000

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Superintendent Charles Gobron was forced to cut his proposed FY14 budget after the state released higher than expected assessment numbers for Northborough. Photo Credit: Bret Matthew (file photo)

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Superintendent Charles Gobron said Wednesday that he will cut $177,805 from the proposed Algonquin Regional High School budget for fiscal year 2014 after the state released higher than expected assessment numbers for Northborough.

Back in January, Gobron released a preliminary FY14 budget that called for a nearly 5 percent increase compared to the previous year.

However, the state recently increased Northborough’s minimum contribution by about $600,000 to $800,000 more than what the town paid in FY13, for a total of $8,835,114.

“It’s been a substantial shift,” Gobron said. “The burden has always been on Southborough and this time it’s shifted to Northborough.”

The reasons for this increase are still not clear, said Gobron, who added that the state’s assessment formula is complicated. “There’s a lot of factors,” he said. “It’s not that easy to figure out.”

One factor that likely made a difference was Northborough’s recent economic growth, Gobron said.

In December, Town Administrator John Coderre told the Board of Selectmen that Northborough experienced a record $92.9 million in new growth in FY13. Of that number, $54.9 million came from Northborough Crossing, Coderre said.

Northborough’s population is also growing, and Gobron said that this is another factor the state may have considered.  In FY14, he said, Northborough students will make up 58.39 percent of Algonquin’s population.

The “wealth factor,” which the state also uses to calculate its assessment numbers, has in recent years placed an additional financial burden on Southborough. But Gobron said that Southborough’s contribution has changed little since last year. The town will pay $6,504,325—a $13,000 decrease from FY13.

To make the budget more palatable to voters, Gobron cut it down to a 3.86 percent increase. He called for creating one-and-a-half fewer teacher positions. Rather than create a full-time assistant principal position as planned, Gobron said he would promote a part-timer from within the school. Supply budgets will also be cut, and more money will be drawn from the district’s rainy day fund.

Gobron promised that there would be more information at the next meeting of the Regional School Committee on Feb. 27.

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