The good news is that next year's budget for Brookline schools is expected to include $1.3 million in revenue it didn't have last year.
The bad news is that still leaves the district’s budget short somewhere in the “million-plus range” and forced to undertake significant alterations, according to Superintendent Bill Lupini.
“I only see scenarios now where we will have to present something, or some things, to you that make fundamental changes to who we are,” Lupini said during Thursday’s School Committee meeting. “I believe now after digging through this numerous, numerous times over the last few weeks that that is inescapable.”
He added later, “We don’t have good news and we will not have good news two weeks from now.”
Lupini will deliver a finalized budget message during the committee’s Feb. 17 meeting at the Lawrence School auditorium.
The schools actually expect to receive $2.6 million in additional revenue for the fiscal 2012 budget, but about $1.8 million is offset by the loss of federal funding, including $1.1 million in special education money and about $600,000 from the federal jobs bill. But because of proposed fudning for the state’s “circuit breaker” provision, which reimburses districts for high-cost students, Brookline will also receive an additional $500,000 in Special Education funds. That places the new revenue number at $1.3 million.
“The revenue growth is nowhere near where our expense growth is,” said Peter Rowe, deputy superintendent for administration and finance.
The budget projections are based on the governor's version of the state budget for the fiscal year starting in July. Before the budget proposal was released last month, Brookline school officials had expected to see a decrease in revenue from last year.
Rebecca Stone, chair of the committee, noted that administrators have known these difficulties were approaching and have been able to soften their impact.
“We are looking at a terrible budget,” she said. “But we are not as bad off as other districts.”