Governor Mitt Romney unveiled a budget proposal for fiscal year 2007, set to commence July
1, 2006. In it he pushes for more local aid.
The Littleton school system received $1,464,107 in chapter 70 aid last year. Romney proposes
raising it to $1,698,050, a $233,943 increase. The Chapter 70 program is the major program of state aid
to public elementary and secondary schools.
Superintendent Paul Livingston has been working with a Chapter 70 reform group based in
Acton, their proposal would increase Littleton's Chapter 70 funding by $1,599,893. Unfortunately, no
legislative action has been taken regarding the proposal.
While more Chapter 70 money will help, the School Committee has its work cut out for it. The
last information made available to the Independent indicates that there will be about $400,000 in the
revolving accounts, of which about $250,000 can only be used for certain purposes carried over to next
year. This gives the School Committee only $150,000 that they can count on with certitude.
The revolving accounts are periodically replenished through the collection of fees, grants, and
other funding. It was anticipated that there would be closer to a million dollars in the account to carry
over when the budget was created last spring.
Unfortunately, higher special education costs, both instruction and transportation, and utilities,
oil, electric and gas, have thus far generated a $600,000 deficit for fiscal year 2006.
Last years appropriation from the town of $12,466,315 is not expected to go up. Unless fees are
raised, a 2 ½ override approved, or other funding sources identified and accessed. Some cuts may have
to be made.
The Romney proposal provides the same level of funding of $164,924 in other “local aid” as the
FY06 budget called for. It does increase the lottery fund distribution from $580,299 to $706,463.
$23,857 for the Housing Incentive Program (payments the town would be able to request should it's
housing increase by more than 1% in a year) and includes $16,915 in Community Policing grants.
It is an election year. Traditionally the Massachusetts legislature tries to one up the governors
initial proposal. Representative Geoffrey Hall and State Senator Pamela Resor will need to exceed the
Governors proposal to keep residents happy enough to send them back to Beacon Hill. Resor in
particular will need to secure higher funding for local aid after supporting tuition rate breaks for illegal
aliens last November.
As of this writing, the School Department did not return phone calls made Friday afternoon to
the School Central Office.