TRENTON — School officials have reduced the size of the increase in this year’s elementary school budget by $130,367, bringing the increase over last year’s budget to $239,995, or 5.97 percent.
The budget that the school committee initially approved in March called for an increase of 7.47 percent, which would have required a nearly 10 percent increase in local property tax funding. Taxes would have risen by $126.55 for every $100,000 of property valuation.
The new budget, if approved by voters at Town Meeting, would raise taxes by 7.89 percent, or $85.75 per $100,000 of valuation.
The shrinking of the school budget was made possible by several factors, including lower than anticipated health insurance and heating oil costs. The school also will not be paying $22,500 as its share of the cost of hiring a behavioral specialist for the school district. That cost will be covered by state and federal funds.
Much of the increase in this year’s $4.26 million budget is due to higher special education costs.
“A new student has moved into the community who will need to receive an out-of-district placement for their needs for the time being, and that’s about $74,500,” said Principal Mike Zboray.
The school also will be hiring an additional special education teacher to meet the needs of students at the school. The total increase in special education costs is $193,000, which is 80 percent of the overall increase in the school’s budget.
School Superintendent Marc Gousse emphasized that providing special education services for children who need them is not optional; it is mandated by federal law.
Given that, he said, “We have tightened our belt to the maximum. There is no fluff in this budget.”
The school committee adopted the new budget Tuesday.