Rehoboth Officials Look at 2022 Budget
After a year of economic turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, town and school officials are preparing their budgets for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
In a Tuesday e-mail to Rehoboth Finance Committee chairman Michael Deignan and Dighton Finance Committee chairman Ed Swartz, Dighton-Rehoboth School Superintendent Anthony Azar explained that budget discussions have already commenced.
“The purpose of this email is to inform you that the administrative team began discussing the FY’22 budget soon after DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) finalized our FY’21 budget,” Azar wrote. “With that being said, our central office team has now begun the budget process with our respective administrative teams from each school.”
“Moreover, soon we will be meeting with the school committee's budget sub-committee as well,” Azar continued. “As you are both fully aware, this budget process is one in which my administration has followed for the past six years. In addition, we have every intention of delivering a preliminary budget/assessment to our two respective municipalities by February 15th as outlined in our Regional Agreement.”
“The state level-funded our state aid for the current fiscal year,” Deignan said. “Of course, that's not to say they couldn't decide to reduce it at some point going forward if their revenues fail to materialize.”
Deignan said all town departments are currently restricting their spending by order of the Board of Selectmen.
“I am cautiously optimistic we will meet our revenue estimates for the current fiscal year, as we were extremely conservative with our estimates and level-funded many of our revenue categories at the prior fiscal years' levels,” Deignan said. “The regional school district can make any request they wish, whether or not we would be able to fund their request is a different issue.”
Azar noted DESE has set the budget for the school district for the last two years.
“In both instances we have submitted a budget to DESE, and in their own words they described our budget as reasonable, and that was reflective of the needs of our school district while respecting the needs of our two towns with no tax increases or overrides,” Azar added. “In my role as Superintendent., our administrative team will continue to reflect the needs of the towns and our school district as we all strive to navigate a pandemic unlike any that we have ever experienced.”