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State aid bolsters Braintree's fiscal 2013 budget

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  September 26, 2012 04:47 PM

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Although there is no guarantee that future state aid will be as large as it was this fiscal year, programs and positions added with the help of nearly $600,000 in state money will be sustainable, Braintree officials said,

The appropriations approved by the Town Council for fiscal 2013, which began July 1, included $237,390 that came from Chapter 70 aid for schools. The money will hold down class sizes in two elementary schools, and pay for the replacement of a retired housemaster at the high school.

According to Peter Morin, chief of staff and operations for the town, new growth and adequate planning should help to incorporate these expenses into future operating budgets.

“The additional teachers and housemaster are recurring, but we believe we can sustain it,” Morin said.

The remaining appropriations requested and approved by the council at a Sept. 20 meeting are one-time expenses that are mostly long overdue, Morin said.

The town will spend $25,000 for a space needs assessment of the school system, at the School Committee’s request, and spend $43,000 on an audit of the School Department to look for efficiencies that can be found in accounting practices.

Additionally, the town will spend $20,000 repairing the Daugherty Gym to be a suitable emergency management facility, Morin said.

“We want to make repairs to the former locker facilities and make sure showers are available to people if they have to be relocated in case of storm or emergency,” Morin said. “The gym can be converted to a shelter, if needed. The money would allow for the wiring so the technology that FEMA uses can be housed there. That is something we could have waited for, but since we had money available, we asked for appropriation.”

Funding will also be spent through the Park and Recreation account to pay for bills associated with games at Braintree High School.

Additionally, the town will also spend $70,000 to remove some mulch at the leaf-composting site to make room for fall.

“We hadn’t done that in several years,” Morin said.

In addition to the $237,390 of Chapter 70 money, the town received $349,954 in state aid this fiscal year.

According to Council President Chuck Kokoros, the money is extremely helpful, especially for the school.

“It certainly helps many of the needs the School Department has,” Kokoros said. “Braintree has been such a great place to raise your children and the school system has been great for so many years, we seem to be growing every year and our school population continues to grow. Any additional funding we can get to lower class sizes is really helpful.”

Kokoros also recognized the town’s local delegation, including Representative Mark Cusack (D-Braintree), Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy) and Representative Brian Joyce (D-Milton), for their work in securing the additional funding.

“I think it’s very important that that money comes in and its to the credit of guys like Cusack, Keenan, and Joyce for making it happen,” he said.

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