Compared to last year, the Joint Finance Committee meeting regarding the school budget that was held on Thursday, March 8, was a very calm, collected and civil atmosphere.
The evening started off with a presentation from Superintendent Melinda Thies, who explained that the school district has come a long way over the years, but more progress needs to be made. With the requested funding from the towns of Bristol and Warren, Thies says the district will be on the right path.
"The investment you make in your school district is a long-term investment in the economic wellbeing and health of both of your communities," Thies said.
Thies explained that over the last six years, the district has made numerous sacrafices to keep the costs of education down, including voluntary administrative salary freezes and cuts in teaching and administrative positions.
According to Pauline Silva, BWRSD Director of Administration and Finance, the district is asking for an additional $1.3 million (shared by the towns of Bristol and Warren) to make up for a lack of state aid. At the meeting, Silva pointed out that the district also chose to reallocate more than $800,000 to the 2012-2013 budget to alleviate some of the financial burden.
At the end of the meeting, School Committee Chairman John Bento commented about how well the meeting went.
"I think this was a very good forum and it gave a very thorough look at the budget." Bento said. "We have been very transparent and we will continue to be that way."
David Barboza, Chairman of the Joint Finance Committee agreed with Bento, stating that the meeting went very well.
"Most importantly, we need to work together," Barboza said.
The next Joint Finance Committee Meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 pm at Mt. Hope High School. At the meeting, the public in invited to share opinions and the committee will make a final decision regarding what Bristol and Warren will contribute to the school district.
Editor's Note: A few days after the meeting, Warren Town Councilor and Joint Finance Committee board member Cathie Tattrie wrote an opinion piece regarding the Town of Warren and school budget request which is posted here on Patch.