Despite support from most individual members of the Finance Committee, last night the group collectively decided against recommending an override to Town Council because they did not have enough time to properly plan.
After School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy requested the board discuss putting an override question to the public to prevent 45 layoffs in the schools, Finance Committee members spoke in favor of a tax hike.
Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche made a motion to ask the Town Council to place a $1.5 million override question on the ballot to support the school, police, and fire departments. No one seconded his motion.
After a lengthy presentation from school officials advocating for a $58.6 million budget, the Finance Committee last night voted to recommend the $55.4 million budget proposed by Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting.
Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche said he wanted to be clear that the school budget is not being cut, "it's just not getting increased by as much" as officials say is necessary to maintain teachers, other staff and programs in schools. Nutting's recommended budget represents a 1.5 percent increase, or about $800,000 over this year's $54.6 million budget.
Even if the School Department gets the $58.6 million it is seeking, schools will not be able to hire new teachers, Superintendent Wayne Ogden said.