The Watertown School budget for Fiscal 2015 came in 16 percent higher than the previous year, but Town Manager Michael Driscoll planned for 3 percent increase. Now he and Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald are looking at how much the education budget can increase.
The pair, along with School Committee Chairwoman Eileen Hsu-Balzer sat down last Thursday and Friday to go over the request for more staff and for goods and services. The schools want the equivalent of 32 more full-time positions, including 22 teachers.
He said the total request, $42 million, would not be realistic in one year, and would not be sustainable under Proposition 2 1/2 rules where towns can only increase the tax levy more than 2.5 percent without going to voters.
At a special Town Council meeting on Tuesday night Driscoll said that he requested that school officials put the requests in priority order. They will provide the list, but Driscoll said he will need more time to come up with the budget.
The Town Council gave him an extra week, delaying the budget hearing from April 22 to April 29.