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Newburyport, MA: Enrollment going down, SPED costs going up; $9M to go up to $10M next year

Feb 25, 2019, Newburyport (MA) Daily News: Port schools could see 3.5 percent increase in 2019-20 budget https://www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/port-schools-could-see-percent-increase-in---budget/article_14e715df-847c-5e52-acb2-270cd762eb1c.html The School Committee will review the budget for the 2019-20 academic year at Tuesday's meeting, said Superintendent Sean Gallagher, who noted the district is expected to see a 3.5 percent increase from last year, equaling about $1 million. …
"Through this budget piece we have three contracts that we're negotiating right now, so there will be a certain percentage increase for teachers and the instructional assistants," Gallagher said. Gallagher will review trends in the district, including school choice, school appropriation, special education costs, enrollment and salaries. There will be increases in funding for special education, sick-leave buyback and a new grounds and field maintenance program, he said. "When we go through all the different pieces, you can see that special education costs have gone up," Gallagher noted. "It's over $9 million reaching $10 million going into next year." He said the 3.5 percent increase is similar to what the district has seen in past years, noting there was a 3.75 percent increase in 2017, and a 4.1 percent increase in 2018 and 2019. In addition, the district only saw a 1.4 percent increase 10 years ago, he said…. Enrollment is on a projected downward turn, said Gallagher, who noted in 2015, the district was close to 2,500 students. Now, the district is estimating under 2,300 students for the next school year. …