April 11, 2018, Newburyport (MA) Daily News: Amesbury school officials OK 5.3 percent budget increase http://www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/amesbury-school-officials-ok-percent-budget-increase/article_ea761044-0437-579f-9047-e1ba0e8626cc.html The School Committee approved a $32.2 million budget for 2018-19, $408,775 over Superintendent Gary Reese's request. The budget, adopted on a line-item basis Monday in the Amesbury High School library, represents an increase of $1.6 million — or 5.3 percent — over the current spending plan. Mayor Ken Gray, the committee chairman, said simply, "This is too much for me." "We are going to have to find another number," Gray said. Reese began the meeting by informing the committee the special education line item had to be increased by $300,000 over the past week due to an unexpected addition of special needs students. Gray told the committee that Reese's proposed budget included a $430,000 increase in special education funding. With the news of the additional $300,000 line item, Gray said special education costs have now jumped to more than $730,000. "This was a surprise," Gray said. While Reese requested an additional high school science teacher as well as a middle school exploratory arts, science and technology teacher, in his own $31.8 million budget, the superintendent said he was forced to remove those requests due to the additional special education costs.