School Committee accepts budget, capital improvement plans

Mar 27, 2018

The Dartmouth School Committee approved its $43 million 2018 budget with no major changes.

The unanimous vote at its March 27 meeting came after meetings with the Finance Committee and school officials. Despite concerns with a deficit between the town and School Department, the budget was not modified since being unveiled in February.

The biggest addition is a new therapeutic program for Quinn Elementary School. The program would add one full-time special education teacher and two full-time teacher assistants to Quinn Elementary School to better support students who require extensive services.

The budget will head to further review by the Select Board and Finance Committee before being voted on at Town Meeting on June 5.

The district’s five-year capital improvement plan was also approved at the March 26 meeting, with one big change. The district would move a project to bring school-wide radio systems up to par as part of public safety improvements this year instead of next year.

A renovation of Memorial Stadium is also slated to move forward under the capital improvement plan despite an issue with the town’s capital improvement finances.

Chair Shannon Jenkins said town finance officials have indicated at least some of the money for a renovation of the aging athletic stadium will be appropriated at spring town meeting.

The town is still waiting for bids for the new police station and North Dartmouth library to come in, which could affect free cash available at the spring town meeting.

Enough is anticipated to allow initial design work to begin over the summer. The hope is to appropriate the rest at fall town meeting.

The project to renovate Memorial Stadium has been pitched for several years, but in years past has faced issues. Last year, a committee was formed to steer the project to renovate the stadium bleachers, grandstands, and lighting forward.