Granby approves town, school budgets 

  • Granby Junior/Senior High School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/17/2019 11:35:01 AM

GRANBY — After narrowly avoiding significant cuts to the school district this year, Granby’s School Committee passed a fiscal 2020 budget that will maintain all current services in the school without further action and will not require budget reductions to any positions, Committee Chairman Emre Evren said at the second half of a Town Meeting last week. 

The town avoided proposed cuts to staffing and programs at Granby Public Schools for the current school year when voters elected to increase the school's budget from $7.72 million to $7.91 million at a June 2018 annual Town Meeting. The increase passed by eight votes. 

Now, Emre says that the district is “in a better place than we were in the past.”

At the special and annual Town Meetings held on Monday, voters approved a $7.67 million school department budget for 2020, in addition to $807,717 for school transportation. The Granby School Committee requested a total budget of $8.5 million for fiscal 2020 — down from the $8.8 million requested for fiscal 2019.

While state funding "has been and continues to be insufficient for small and semi-rural school districts such as Granby," Evren said, schools have seen "promising improvements" in how the state addresses education funding, with Granby now receiving about $150,000 in additional state funding.

“It’s not the end of the problem, but things are improving,” Evren said. 

Granby schools saw an increase to enrollment for the first time in eight years, Evren said, noting that enrollment is the district’s primary revenue driver. Over 30 additional students were in the district this year, including residential students and students returning from private schools, charter schools or other districts. 

Other savings came from choosing not to refill vacated positions and success within the school’s social and emotional learning services program, according to Evren.

The district saved over $110,000 in salary money by not filling the select vacated positions, he said, while the social and emotional learning program has allowed more students to receive necessary support while staying within the district, saving the schools over $130,000. 

“Key items” added to the school district’s budget for 2020 include increased technology and expansion of the school’s mindfulness program, Evren said, as well as support for extracurricular programs. 

Other finances

The town has a total budget of $22.7 million for fiscal 2020, according to a Finance Committee report, presenting a $1.5 million increase over the previous year's budget. 

Under Article 30, voters elected to raise, appropriate, or transfer $17.4 million toward town expenses for fiscal 2020.

Select Board Chairman Jay Joyce said that Granby is “in sound financial position,” with a AAA bond rating, but must address future concerns related to funding such as other post-employment benefits benefits for town employees; an anticipated increase related to curbside contracts in future years; maintaining an affordable property tax; and maintaining suitable levels of drinkable water for the town. 

Voters approved all other articles on the special and annual Town Meeting warrants. The articles proposed funding for various departments in town, including $700,000 for a pumper truck for the Fire Department.

According to Granby Fire Chief John Mitchell, the pumper truck will carry up to 2,500 gallons of water. The Fire Department's current Engine 1 tanker truck is 25 years old and can hold up to 1,000 gallons of water. 

Voters also elected to fund $415,050 to municipal solid waste department operations, and $329,574 toward ambulance department operations. 

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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