Finance board gives Bristol Warren schools 2.5 percent local aid increase

Schools had sought 8.5 percent local increase

By Ted Hayes
Posted 3/26/19

The Joint Finance Committee Tuesday night approved a 2.5 percent local spending increase into Bristol Warren schools for the 2019-20 school year, cutting well short the 8.5 percent increase the …

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Finance board gives Bristol Warren schools 2.5 percent local aid increase

Schools had sought 8.5 percent local increase

Posted

The Joint Finance Committee Tuesday night approved a 2.5 percent local spending increase into Bristol Warren schools for the 2019-20 school year, cutting well short the 8.5 percent increase the school committee and superintendent Dr. Mario Andrade had sought.

The committee voted after about an hour's worth of discussion to contribute $39,020,179 locally, with Bristol paying $27.15 million and Warren taxpayers picking up $11.9 million. Though it fell more than $2 million short of the school administrators' request, most JFC members said the amount was reasonable given the economic climate and both towns' finances:

"If we had a magic wand we would give you everything we could," JFC member Nathan Calouro of Bristol said. "But a 2.5 percent increase ... that stays up with the times. I think that's reasonable."

"2.5 recent is not my preference," added JFC member Aaron Ley. "I would like to go a lot higher than that. But it is ultimately up to the school district to determine the best way to spend."

The only JFC member to vote against the increase was Mr. Ley; an earlier motion by Mary Parella to grant a 2 percent increase having failed.

One of the biggest players in this year's budget cycle was the move toward providing more social and emotional support services at local schools, particularly Kickemuit Middle School. Approximately $500,00 in additional spending for support staff and contractual services were funded under the school committee and Dr. Andrade's request, and following the meeting he said that those funds will stay in place regardless.

"Those are the priority," he said. "They are staying. We will find (places to cut) somewhere else."

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