Residents will decide on 4.72 percent increase in Foster-Glocester

Residents will decide on 4.72 percent increase in Foster-Glocester

GLOCESTER – The Foster-Glocester Regional School District will hold its 61st annual Financial Town Meeting next Tuesday, March 19, starting at 7 p.m. in the Ponaganset High School Auditorium, at 137 Anan Wade Road, Glocester.

The meeting is for the purpose of deciding the district’s 2019-2020 budget of $28.4 million, which calls for an increase in spending of 4.73 percent. The increase in the total local appropriation to the budget is 2.5 percent, according to a budget document, or up from $15.7 million to $16.1 million.

Supt. Michael Barnes is disputing the contents of a letter this week from Kevin Donovan, chairman of the Foster Republican Town Committee, who suggests costs are rising due to out-of-district students attending local schools. (See letter on page 13.)

Barnes said Donovan’s analysis “co-mingles funds from multiple sources,” leading him to draw erroneous conclusions about district finances. There is no evidence that out-of-district students are costing the district more money, he said. Extra money spent on teacher assistants has been to accommodate special needs students already in the district.

Donovan mixes funds from the federal government, state and out-of-district grants to make an “erroneous conclusion” that these students are being funded by local taxpayers, said Barnes. He said he and his staff plan to meet with Donovan to present him with information.

On Donovan’s questions about a $12,000 per-pupil cost, Barnes said that figure is the amount local taxpayers in Foster and Glocester contribute to fund the operation of local schools through the general fund, which was $13.7 million last year and is proposed to be $14.1 million this year. If one divides last year’s figure by 1,163 students in the district, it comes out to just under $12,000, he said. Remaining money comes from state and federal aid and out-of-district tuitions.