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Amherst-Pelham school district expected to finish with a balanced $28.5 million budget despite unexpected costs

AMHERST — The Amherst-Pelham regional school district is on track to finish with a balanced $28.5 million budget even though unexpected costs have led to some accounts running over budget.

For example, the special education budget is currently $152,803 over its $1.2 million budget — in part as a result of out-of-district tuition from placement of students whose needs cannot be met within the district. The food services expense account is $31,100 over budget as a result of new regulations and rising food costs.

Rob Detweiler, director of finance and operations for the school district, presented the third quarter budget update at the school committee meeting Tuesday night. Currently, the total school budget is $28,527,558.

With the special education budget at $1,241,533, the total projected expenses for this fiscal year exceed that by $152,803, according to the third quarter budget report. Also according to the report, the service budget of $70,000, has been revised to $101,100 because food costs have increased with the implementation of new standards such as the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.”

Detweiler told School Committee members that it is challenging to maintain a balance between serving healthier foods, while making sure children eat the healthier foods made available to them.

Also this week, the school committee passed a motion to approve two $500 merit awards to Susan Warren, facilities and transportation secretary, and Jane Fitzgerald, Amherst-Regional Middle School secretary. They will be recognized at an award ceremony June 17, at 7 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School.

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