SWAMPSCOTT — The School Committee approved the final fiscal year 2024 budget at a meeting Thursday evening. This vote comes after cuts were made to the first budget the committee put forward earlier this year that had a 4.41 percent increase from FY23.
The committee originally voted on the larger budget with the 4.41 percent increase after Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald requested only a 2.6 percent increase. As a result, cuts had to be made.
While the town did give the committee another $440,000 for the budget, it still had to make $644,000 in cuts to get the budget to the number Fitzgerald required.
“644,000 is a lot of money. I’m not thrilled by the work that we’re going to have to continue to do, but we will do it,” Superintendent Pamela Angelakis said.
Chair Glenn Paster and members Suzanne Wright and Carin Marshall voted yes to the new proposed budget.
“This has been a gut wrenching last few weeks,” Paster said. “I think maybe it’s time for the Town side to look within itself. We have a very good school system here that could be a great school system with a little bit more funding.”
Marshall said she has struggled a lot through the budget season. Other members echoed her sentiments.
“I am happy that there was collaboration, I am happy that we have added you know $440,000 back in whatever way it comes to us,” Marshall said. “Do I wish that that number was higher to begin with? Yes. And I think that’s going to be incumbent on our entire board to have that discussion with the Town moving forward.”
Vice Chair John Giantis and member Amy O’Connor voted no.
“I think at the end of the day I am angry about the fact that this number is coming back before us for another vote. Because it feels very performative to me,” O’Connor said. “When General Government says this is your budget … having us jump through all of the hoops to get to that point feels like nothing but a performance and I don’t appreciate that.”
Town Meeting will have final consideration of the budget.