School district seeks budget increase

The school district’s superintendent, Joseph Sawyer, says he knows he is taking a chance in requesting a $4.4 million increase in his budget for next fiscal year, but the move is “necessary to halt the erosion of Shrewsbury’s schools.” The public will have a chance to weigh in on the $54.2 million budget proposal during a hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb 13. The hearing’s location had not been determined as of midweek. In his budget message, Sawyer described the school system as “in a fragile state,” and cited crowded classrooms, obsolete textbooks that threaten accreditation for some science programs, and insufficient technology and security systems. He said the proposed budget would include pay increases, 21 new teaching positions, and increased spending for special education, technology, and teacher training materials. However, Town Manager Daniel Morgadol said the full budget request is unlikely to be offered to voters unless other departments can cut an amount equal to the increase.  According to Morgadol, the Board of Selectmen voted in October not to seek any tax increases through Proposition 2½ overrides at Town Meeting, which convenes May 20.