Officials Discuss School Surplus

The Rochester Board of Selectman and members of the Rochester School Committee held a brief joint meeting Monday and discussed the potential reallocation of extra funds from this year’s budget into a special education account in case of unexpected expenses for fiscal year 2014.

Ultimately, the Board approved the three articles presented by the School Committee, but the two groups decided that they would need to further discuss how much of the potential surplus funds would be switched over to the special education account.

Members of the School Committee said that there was roughly $108,000 surplus in the budget currently, and they estimated that after the school year concludes, they would probably have about $50,000 that could be rolled over into the account.

“At this point, they haven’t needed that money available,” Town Administrator Richard LaCamera said. “I recommend that we set this up to deal with any problems in the future.”

Members of the two boards discussed the possibility of having to place students in out-of-district facilities, which would be at its own expense, among other potential expenses. In the past, the school has needed extra funds for special education, but has not had the funds allocated to do so. This would keep that from reoccurring.

Sharon Hartley of the School Committee expressed her gratitude to the Selectmen for approving the articles and offering to meet with them for further discussion.

“We appreciate the idea and the effort and the action of creating that,” Hartley said. “We think it’s a very good idea.”

Hartley also said that they have not yet set an amount or discussed how much they think will be left at the end of the year, but she offered an estimate of $50,000.

After the School Committee portion of the meeting was over, the Selectmen met and reshuffled the Board, with its members ultimately deciding to nominate Naida Parker as Chair, Bradford Morse as Vice Chair, and Richard Nunes to be Clerk.

Also during the meeting, there took place a heated debate between the Selectmen and members of the Board of Health regarding the necessity of insurance liability for members of the Board of Health. The issue was left unresolved after accusations from the Board of Health and their subsequent walkout.

In other news, Parker commended groups of local students and others who helped out in the town cleanup for Earth Day. “Everybody in Rochester appreciated the effort they’ve made to improve our community.”

Parker also announced the resignation of Anna White of the Historical Commission after a long career there. White cited declining health and hearing as her reason for leaving the Commission. Parker added that she was an administrator and secretary for the Board of Selectmen for a number of years.

“It’s disappointing that she needs to give her seat up,” Parker said. “She has an amazing memory for the history of this town.”

Parker added that White would remain with the Commission as an honorary member.

Finally, the Selectmen took a moment to notify the public that members of the Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project would be spraying for mosquitoes during through April 26. The “aerial larviciding” would take place over handpicked swamps, and there will not be spraying over any homes.

By Nick Walecka

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