Framingham, MA: Student population down; "high needs sub-group populations" up

Jan 28, 2018, Framingham (MA) Daily News: Hudson schools facing $1.4M shortfall, but hopeful savings will close the gap School officials are projecting a $1.4 million shortfall from the recommended $42.3 million spending plan, but are hopeful savings from this year’s budget will fill the gap. District officials this week released the proposed fiscal 2019 spending package – which is funded with the town appropriation, special education circuit-breaker funding and School Choice money. The administration plans to use $1.8 million in School Choice funds, and $955,565 circuit-breaker money in addition to the expected $38 million town appropriation. That leaves the district slightly more than $1.4 million short of the recommended budget School Committee members approved earlier this month. … The plan also calls for hiring two middle school teachers to support students struggling in literacy and numbers, increasing the academic capacity of the high school’s Therapeutic Academic Support program by adding part-time staff. Other increases include district-wide hiring of part and full-time staff to comply with specialized services identified in students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and three English Language Learner teachers. … The overall student population has declined from 2,845 in fiscal 2012 to 2,607 in 2018. “Although the district has experienced a decline in student enrollment in the aggregate, the cost of services and programs associated with high needs sub-group populations (students with disabilities, English learners, economic disadvantaged) continue to rise,” Rodrigues wrote. …

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