Schools seek budget increase

The School Committee plans to vote Monday on a $24.6 million budget that would increase school spending by more than 2.5 percent for the first time since fiscal 2006. Since then, annual changes in the school budget have ranged from a decrease of 1.7 percent to an increase of 2.2 percent, said School Committee chairman Andrew Mackie. The proposed budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, would raise spending by 6.8 percent, he said. About $96,000 would be used to start a program at the elementary level for students with autism. Over the long term, he expects the program will save Norton money on out-of-district placements while allowing students to stay close to home. Mackie said other increases are necessary to protect the district from federal budget cuts that will occur if Congress does not act by March 1. He hopes the town will receive an increase in state education funding, he said.