The Town of Natick is projecting an $8.3 million loss in revenue in FY2021.
This will result in drastic implications for both the school and municipal budgets.
Why is there a budget gap?
PNF's volunteers have been working hard to understand Natick's budget and the challenge we face today. To get started, here is a short video on the budget and where we are today:
In short, COVID-19 has made a tight budget even tighter. Here's why:
Last year: Natick Public Schools (NPS) used savings to pay operating costs
In FY20, NPS spent $69.5 million - $1.7 million dollars more than the budget that was approved by Town Meeting. NPS achieved this by leveraging available free cash, prepaying some services, and other strategies. Municipal departments spent $38.8 million.
In January 2020: NPS called for an increase in the Fiscal 2021 operating budget
In January ("pre-COVID"), the School Committee determined $72.9 million was needed to provide services to NPS. The Town Administrator proposed a budget of $71.2 million for NPS ($1.7 million less than requested) and $38.5 million for municipal services. This budget was never approved by Town Meeting, which was rescheduled due to COVID-19.
On May 11: The Town Administrator presented a revised budget with $8.3 million gap
The Town Administrator proposed a new budget for FY21 that reflects a decline in state aid and local receipts due to COVID-19. The new budget effectively decreases funds for NPS to $66.8 million and funds for municipal services to $38.08 million. This represents cuts of $1.8 million from what NPS actually spent in FY20, $4.4 million in cuts to the pre-COVID budget proposed in January by the Town Administrator, and $6 million in cuts from the pre-COVID budget proposed by the School Committee.
Today: NPS and the Town Administrator are evaluating potential cuts to meet the deficit
PNF is asking Town leaders to identify solutions that align with our community’s goals and core values and support Natick’s long-term vitality. Potential budget cuts that have been identified as of May 15 are identified here.