TOWNSEND -- Until confusion is resolved about each town's contribution to the North Middlesex Regional School District budget, the School Committee's finance subcommittee voted not to make any changes to the school budget at their meeting Tuesday night.
The confusion stemmed from a decision by Pepperell selectmen July 15 to ask Townsend and Ashby to increase their contributions to the school budget so that Pepperell could pay less.
Finance subcommittee member Nancy Haines said the amount that each of the towns had to pay this year, based on a new formula for calculating target shares, was very different from earlier projections.
"There's usually some difference in the numbers," Haines said.
"But this is a bigger shift than usual," she added.
Pepperell was hit harder than Townsend and Ashby by the new formula. Pepperell's contribution rose by $472,000 from last year, while Townsend and Ashby's fell slightly, Pepperell Town Administrator John Moak said July 15. Pepperell had expected an increase of between $250,000 and $300,000, according to Moak.
Moak and Pepperell selectmen, who are trying to counter a structural deficit in town, voted to draft a letter asking Townsend and Ashby to help make up the difference if Pepperell decreases its portion of the budget.
Subcommittee Chairman Jonna Clermont said no one from Pepperell has contacted her regarding any changes to the budget.
"I can understand where the town is coming from," Clermont said of Pepperell.
Committee members decided they could not make any changes to the budget until there is communication between the towns.
"We can't do anything until we know what Pepperell is asking for," Clermont said.
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