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Newton School Committee saves 22 staff positions with $262 million budget

The Newton School Committee approved a $262 million budget that saves 22 staff positions that would have been eliminated under an earlier plan that included layoffs to cope with a nearly $4 million shortfall next school year.

The district was able to backfill almost $2 million of the deficit with $1.5 million that the mayor released from federal pandemic funds and “new projections of administrative costs,” Superintendent David Fleishman said after the vote Tuesday.

About 20 positions are still in jeopardy because of the district’s finances, he said, adding that retirements and “redeployments” would lower the number of people who actually lose their jobs.

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“We are in much better shape than we were two weeks ago, especially at the elementary level,” he said. “All of the academic support will be there next year in the elementary schools.”

Newton has 2,163 educators and staff and about 12,000 students.

Fleishman is leaving at the end of the school year to head the Jewish Vocational Service in Boston.

“Budgets are always an expression of a community’s values. Here in Newton, education and our students continue to be our highest priority,” Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement Wednesday.

“After months of working together with the School Committee leadership including Chair Tamika Olszewski and the Newton Public Schools team, I am gratified by the nearly unanimous support last night of this $262 million budget for FY2023, reflecting an increase of $9 million or 3.5 percent,” Fuller said. “This budget demonstrates our ability to work through challenges and chart a path forward together that supports all of our students and exceptional educators.”

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.