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School Committee Approves 4.23 Percent Increase in Operating Budget

The budget would fund two additional positions to the High School while eliminating three Elementary School positions.

The Easton School Committee voted unanimously Thursday night to approve an operating budget for the 2012-2013 school year in the amount of $33,731,471.

The budget represents a 4.23 percent, or $1,367,929, increase from last year's $32,363,542 budget.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Green said that certain challenges came with constructing this year's budget - particularly the loss of Federal Jobs money funding Special Education programs, which ran out and left the School Department with a $500,000 deficit.

"That $500,000 loss is huge for us," School Committee member Donna Abelli said. "But, I think we’re managing well."

The School Department will restore a position in thesocial studies department that was lost last year when a $900,000 deficit forced

Another position will be restored at the High School to fulfill the school's "block and drop" rotating schedule.

While the budget restores positions in the higher grade levels, it eliminates three positions in Easton's Elementary schools. Green said he hopes to make the cuts through attrition.

He said the shift represents lower enrollment at the younger grade levels.

According to 2011-2012 school year enrollment data provided by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the grades in Easton with the lowest enrollment were Kindergarten (244), Grade 2 (268), Grade 1 (270) and grade 4 (275). Easton's highest enrollment last year came in grade 6 (345) and grade 5 (324). Grades 7 and 10 had 311 students enrolled.

The School Department's $33,731,471 budget is the largest line item in a Originally, Colton's preliminary budget presented a $819,000 deficit which was closed through increased state aid, low health insurance costs and a decrease in Easton's expense to Southeastern Regional High School.

The budget will be up for a vote at the May 21 Annual Town Meeting.

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