Town Budget Includes Increase for Schools, See How Much

Print More

The Watertown Public Schools will be getting an increase next year, but parents at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting said it is not enough.

Town Manger Michael Driscoll presented the Fiscal 2015 budget, but the item of interest for most in the standing room only Council Chamber was the education budget.

The budget of $38.94 million is a $2.267 million increase – 6.18 percent – more than the Fiscal 2014 figure. This is more than the 3 percent projected in the draft budget Driscoll presented in October, but below the 16.81 percent requested by the School Committee and school staff.

Several parents spoke during a public forum period expressing disappointment about the budget figure.

“We need the funds now, not three years from now, or five years or 10 years,” said parent Kate Coyne.

While almost all the parents and residents said they want to see more money for the schools, one person stood up to support the Town Council. John Airasian, a former School Committee member and a founding member of the Watertown Education Foundation, said he believes the schools still do a good job.

“I think the ask here (from the School Committee) is unprecedented,” Airasian said. “It seems you guys (on the Town Council) are being made bad guys because you are not funding the schools enough. That’s not the case.”

Driscoll also announced some one-time funds for school programs, including $750,000 for one-time curriculum initiatives, Driscoll said.

He also proposed two additions to the current budget – $210,000 for  $210,000 for one-time curriculum initiatives and $750,000 to establish a special education stabilization fund to be used to avoid using regular education dollars on special education.

(Follow Watertown News for more info on the Fiscal 2015 budget).


3 thoughts on “Town Budget Includes Increase for Schools, See How Much

  1. From what I have observed it is not only parents that are unhappy with this shortfall. If you review the public forum of the School Committee Mtg back in early April you will see that a large percentage of those that spoke in favor of the full budget request from the school dept. stated that they did not have children in the public schools here. They recognize the value that comes with this level of funding. Also, in looking at the Q1 real estate trends (top 25 towns) that were recently released for Mass, you will notice a strong correlation to the prioritization of public schools in those communities…Hopkinton, Acton, Norwood, Westwood are communities that do not have the commercial property revenues that Watertown has, yet they are allocating a higher percentage of their town’s resources to the school systems. Hopkinton, for example, has allocated 56% of their town’s budget to public education. The education appropriation there is nearly the same amount as it is here in Watertown yet they have a significantly smaller population (and their town’s operating budget is $40M less).

  2. It is hardly surprising that Hopkinton would spend proportionately more of the town’s budget on the schools than Watertown does, given that Hopkinton’s school population totals 3,357 (, or more than 700 more students than Watertown’s school population. The appropriate comparative measure would be expenditure per student, where Watertown’s level is higher than the state average.

    While there is a clear need to address school funding, the use of misleading comparisons with other communities does not help the cause. Obviously, the impact of Watertown’s uniquely high special education expenditures figures into the higher per-student cost, but there are other elements that need to be considered as well, not the least of which is the small size of the town’s school system relative to the adjacent communities.

  3. Hey would you mind letting me know which web host you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a fair price? Kudos, I appreciate it! keddeedackafgfbd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *