Old Rochester Regional School Committee approves $21.7 million budget

Apr 2, 2024

MATTAPOISETT — The Old Rochester Regional District School Committee has approved a proposed budget of more than $21 million for fiscal year 2025.

At a Thursday, March 28 meeting, the School Committee approved a $21.7 million budget. The 2025 budget increased by 3.31% from the previous year’s nearly $21 million budget.

Increases were attributed in part to staffing contracts and advancements, retirement and insurance, educational equipment and a new bus transportation contract, according to Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Howard Barber.

Per the proposed budget, the towns of Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester were assessed contributions of $5.8 million, $6.6 million and $5.5 million respectively. Those represent increases of 4.9%, 4%, and 2.5% respectively.

Superintendent Michael Nelson said it was “not an easy budget season for anyone.”

“This year, like many years, there were quite a few challenges in front of us from a cost driver standpoint, and making decisions as we prioritize the education that our children, our families and our staff members are able to offer is always the main focus,” Nelson said.

School Committee member Matthew Monteiro said some of the budget’s “major items” that increased, like retirement and busing costs, were “things far beyond our control.”

“This budget is not us spending extra money on things that are new,” Monteiro said. “It is just paying our bills.”

Chrystal Walsh, a Mattapoisett parent representative on the Old Rochester Regional Junior High School Council, said the school council was “disappointed” that it could not get new funding in the past two years for items that it had “prioritized.”

Those items were related to curriculum and social worker, school adjustment counselor and instructional aide positions, according to Walsh.

“I did just want to say that we have some concerns that some of the increase in costs related to maintenance, transportation, central office are squeezing our teaching and our academic excellence,” Walsh said.

The Old Rochester Regional School District budget serves the district’s high school and junior high, as well as the athletic department, central office, facilities, student services, technology, debt and capital expenditures.