$3.5M override sought for roads, schools; Board may set election June 14.

AuthorSpencer, Susan

Byline: Susan Spencer

GRAFTON -- With state aid steadily dropping over the past years and stagnant local revenue growth, town officials are proposing a $3.5 million Proposition 21/2 override to meet expenses for schools and roads.

Selectmen plan to vote at Tuesday's meeting to schedule an override election for June 14.

"I think people are comfortable on the concept of $3.5 million,'' Town Administrator Timothy P. McInerney said in an interview.

The recommendation for the override came from the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee and the Finance Committee, after discussions over recent weeks.

According to information posted on the town website, the additional cost in fiscal 2015 to the average homeowner, if the override passes, would be $346, to a total average tax of $5,416. The amount would increase to an additional $583, or a total $5,580, in 2020.

With no override, the fiscal 2015 tax for the average taxpayer would be $5,071.

Of the total request, $2 million would go toward schools and $1.5 million to road repairs and maintenance.

Mr. McInerney said the School Department's budget request for next year was $855,000 above what he included in the town's $48.2 million balanced budget.

If the override doesn't pass, the School Department will cut 7.5 full time equivalent positions and forgo requests for 6.4 positions -- a social studies and a math teacher at Grafton High School to reduce class size, special education teachers at North Grafton and South Grafton Elementary schools, an adjustment counselor split between Millbury Street and North Street Elementary schools; a psychologist split between North Grafton and South Grafton Elementary schools; and a part-time reading specialist at North Street Elementary School.

Maintenance projects and supplies would also be cut.

"We have to make sure we have enough to sustain the schools until state aid comes back,'' Mr. McInerney said.

The override overview indicates that if the override passes, the money...

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