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Wilmington Officials Bracing for Cuts to Local Aid

There will be a minimal impact on town government, but school officials said they could see a cut of about $75,000 in reimbursements.

Town Manager Jeff Hull said he doesn’t expect a major impact locally after a recently announced upcoming cut to local aid. Wilmington Public Schools, however, may have to look for alternatives due to one of the cuts.

On Tuesday, Gov. Deval Patrick announced actual state revenues were significantly lower than projections, resulting in a $540 million budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2013.

As a result, the governor announced he will be implementing $225 million in immediate budget cuts, some of which may impact Wilmington.

“The reduction to the Special Education Circuit Breaker reimbursement will have an impact on the School Department,” said Director of Administration & Finance Paul Ruggiero. “Although we do not have any final figures as to what the impact will be we assume that a 5% cut could reduce our reimbursement by approximately $75,000.  The School Department will look for ways to offset this loss of reimbursement.

On the town side, Hull said the one percent hit on the general account amounts to about a $21,000 impact in Wilmington.

“The initial take is that it’s just a cautionary note in terms of the current fiscal year and Fiscal Year 2014,” said Hull. “It’s always difficult to have these midyear cuts because the budget is predicated on what the state ultimately provides in state aid. We were conservative this year with the state aid numbers, essentially level funding them. In that respect, that’s once of the reasons that we’re OK on the town side.”

Hull said the challenge for Fiscal Year 2013 will be that Gov. Patrick’s proposal announcement is likely to come in late January. The budget will be presented the weekend before Hull is slated to deliver his own budget proposal to selectmen at a local level.

“The state is looking at revenue numbers, and if they continue to decline, that will probably come back to us and we’ll have to adjust accordingly,” said Hull. “We’ll have to use the best information we have prior to the proposal and anticipate what the state might do.” 

Mario Marchese December 08, 2012 at 12:41 AM
We have 11.5 million in free cash, I think it's time to start spending that money in lieu of cutting programs in Town.
Mckenna December 08, 2012 at 01:41 PM
i agree....
Pat December 09, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I agree! The last thing that should be cutting is Special needs Education! Find someplace else to cut!
Wayne Sullivan December 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I agree Special Education shouldn't be cut at the state or town level. I would be quite surprised if the town started cutting education programs while at the same time building a new high school. It is pretty clear that that town sees the value of education which includes all programs with Special Education being one of them. Just my opinion and observation as every town meeting includes a school department budget that has been fully funded and approved by the residents.
George Lingenfelter December 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Pseudonym Wayne, do you attend Town meeting every year or just stay home and participate by watching on TV and then make anonymous posts to the Patch? In my opinion you should start attending Town meeting in person so we can all hear and see you speak. The Annual Town meeting is scheduled for Saturday May 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM, not sure where it is being held this year though. You could also begin attending the various board meetings and provide the citizens of Wilmington with the benefit of your sage like wisdom in all matters Wilmington.

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