Published in the March 2, 2017 edition


NORTH READING — The preliminary school budget for fiscal year 2018 will be unveiled at the School Committee’s March 6 meeting.

The meeting will take place at North Reading High School’s distance learning lab, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

As part of the process for developing the school budget for FY’18, Finance Director Michael Connelly has begun creating and posting budget videos online. The first video is about the school department’s preliminary budget challenges and the large capital requests the school department has submitted to the Capital Improvement Planning Committee (CIPC) for further review.

The second video is about the Chapter 70 program. The Chapter 70 program is the major program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools. In addition to providing state aid to support school operations, it also establishes minimum spending requirements for each school district and minimum requirements for each municipality’s share of school costs.

“(The video) covers how the Chapter 70 program works,” said Connelly.

If residents are interested in watching the videos, townspeople should visit

School Committee member Mel Webster said Connelly “did a great job” creating the videos.

“(Connelly) explains the whole the process,” said Webster. “I think it’s a great resource for helping people understand the budget and how state aid works. The budget is getting presented next week and if people want to come, they should watch the videos.”

School Committee Chairman Cliff Bowers agreed.

“It’s especially important this time of year as we are getting into the hardcore budget,” said Bowers.

Connelly concurred with Bowers and Webster’s sentiment.

“We are trying to educate people,” said Connelly.

Connelly said he will be making a couple more videos as budget season progresses.