By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD — The School Committee voted this week to approve the FY 2023 school budget of $47,607,077, which they will bring to Annual Town Meeting on May 8. Next year’s school spending plan represents a 4.99 percent increase over the current year’s budget.

At an earlier meeting, a question had been raised regarding a need to budget for additional academic intervention services at the high school. The school administration was asked to look into whether that need existed.

This week, Superintendent Doug Lyons reported that he, along with the administration team of Assistant Superintendent Kara Mauro, high school principal Amy McLeod and Special Education Director Rosie Galvin had met and they felt strongly that they would be able to provide effective academic support during and after school for both special education and regular education students without adding to the budget request.

Lyons stressed that there were two currently unfilled special education positions that would be instrumental in helping to meet those needs. If it turns out that more help is needed, he said, ESSER grant funds could always be tapped.

School Committee Chair Suzy Veilleux pointed out that the specific question that had been asked pertained to general education students who need extra help with reading, writing and math. High school students, she noted, tend to be reluctant to come for extra help after school.

Lyons re-iterated that the staff believes that they have the personnel and resources to meet those needs without adding to the budget. He said that he felt that the administration had done more than its due diligence in looking at what they needed to meet the established priorities.

“This is a good budget for us,” he said.

But School Committee member Amy Leeman observed that a $69,727 special education position had been discussed earlier but did not make it into the budget. She wondered if it was not included because it would have pushed the budget increase over 5 percent.

Lyons denied that that was the reason.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

Leeman said that it just seemed like teachers and students were craving the extra support but the administration kept saying, “We’re all set.” She also asked if the School Committee could get a report on staffing in August, noting that the committee did not know until this week that two special education positions had sat vacant for the entire current school year.

Lyons expressed confidence that those two positions could be filled for the next school year.

He clarified that he was not denying that there was a need for more intervention services in next year’s budget, merely saying that the schools could make it work within the proposed budget and filling those vacant positions would help.

Mauro went into a bit more detail on exactly how that would happen, talking about how special education students and general education students can be grouped in classrooms to provide the maximum support for all students.

School Committee member Thomas Markham said that he would not support adding to the already proposed FY 2023 school budget. He noted that if ARPA and grant funds were taken into account, the School Department was actually getting a 5.65 percent budget increase.