Next year’s budget process is already moving forward, both on the municipal side and in the Mansfield School District.
“Everything we’ve heard so far for this budget has just been getting better and better,” chair Michael Trowbridge said.
State funding estimates from this year’s budget proved to be, on some points, higher than originally estimated and will be giving more funds to the town. But school district director of finance and operations Edward Vozzella said there are still hurdles to jump.
“This year we have so many mandates required by the state that they’re not ad-ons as we have discussed in the past,” Vozzella said. “You’ll see a budget this year that has requirements.”
Superintendent Brenda Hodges said that federal funding is dictated by state tests, like the MCAS, and will weigh heavily on extra revenue the district receives. This year, she said, the deciding factor will be high needs students.
“We’ve had some pos news there,” she said. “Now to be successful, the real emphasis by the state is on the high needs category of students… those are the students that need to be [taught in] small numbers and are staff intensive. We’re going to need to take that into consideration because the state does categorize you on a level one through five… in order to maintain a level where [the state] does not take away federal funds, you need to show more growth than Mansfield shows. We certainly need to embed that into our budget as we bring it forth.”