Green Light for Valley Tech '16 Budget
Jun 29, 2015 09:14AM ● Published by Pamela Johnson
Final votes on the Fiscal Year 2016 operational blueprint for the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School were cast on June 4, 2015, when Upton became the thirteenth District town to approve the plan at town meeting. With a $21,317,222 bottom line, the approved budget utilized a litany of cost-containment initiatives to reach a minimal increase of 1.65 percent, and kept member-town assessments at the state minimum by drawing on $250,000 in available reserves funds and incorporating the projected receipt of grants, gifts, and additional revenue sources.
According to Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, the minimal increase was made possible by cost-containment measures such as refinancing existing debt, earning an improved bond rating from Moody's Investment Services, and negotiating with healthcare providers to secure an insurance line item decrease. The low budget increase was further facilitated by ongoing efforts to improve efficiencies in Valley Tech's facilities, including upgrades to the building's boilers, a comprehensive study of the plumbing system, and the school-wide consolidation of printers and copiers.
Although only two-thirds of District communities needed to approve the budget to make it official, School Committee Chairman Joseph M. Hall of Bellingham said that approval from all 13 towns was an equally important milestone.
"The School Committee did its part to help District towns by limiting the budget increase to less than 2 percent, keeping assessments at the required state minimum, and responsibly drawing from reserve funding," Hall said. "Unanimous approval tells us that voters recognized and appreciated those efforts."
Superintendent-Director Fitzpatrick shared Hall's appreciation for the unanimous approval rating, noting that the District's annual goal is to advance the quality of a Valley Tech education while presenting voters with a justifiable budget request worthy of their support.
"Although many of us wish we could say the same about the Red Sox, we are very pleased to see Valley Tech's budget batting one-thousand this spring," Fitzpatrick commented.
Fitzpatrick added that Valley Tech will maintain its commitment to a single, consolidated operational budget request, regardless of unforeseen developments over the coming fiscal year. With the exception of special debt or an occasional capital improvement initiative, Valley Tech's single budget request accounts for workers’ compensation, health and other insurance, unemployment, snow removal, and federal and state revenue shortfalls, as well as central office, bookkeeping, treasurer, legal, audit, and other expenses. Special education and student-assessment costs are also included within the annual budget.
Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge. Located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, Blackstone Valley Tech creates a positive learning community that prepares students for personal and professional success in an internationally competitive society through a fusion of vigorous vocational, technical, and academic skills. The school’s website is www.valleytech.k12.ma.us.