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TOWNSEND — Newly elected North Middlesex Regional School Committee member Susan Robbins was introduced to her fellow committee members and immediately got down to business.

Replacing Joseph Sciacca Jr., who resigned his post, Robbins will complete his unexpired term and represent Townsend on the committee.

All members of the committee were present at the meeting except for Ann Buchholz, member-at-large.

The committee heard a report from the Melanson Heath accounting firm about district finances. An audit of the school district’s books showed that Excess & Deficiency (or “free cash”) in the budget had shrunk to only $154,000 and had dropped $400,000 from just the previous fiscal year.

Melanson Heath President Frank Biron suggested closer monitoring of E&D spending, to include roll call votes by the committee and annotation in the committee’s minutes when the free cash balance is used. He suggested deliberately increasing the free cash amount, over a period of years, to have on hand for emergencies.

In other business before the North Middlesex Regional School Committee:

* Members were informed about the successful Veteran’s Day breakfast, hosted the student council and volunteers. One of the guest speakers was state Rep. Robert Hargraves.

* The Powder Puff (women’s) football game was played, despite a rain delay, and $1,200 was raised by student events.

* Superintendent Dr. Maureen Marshall commended the 82 student recipients of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship.

* Disposition of a $1,963.84 fund from the Class of 1995 was discussed. A suggestion by Vice Chairman Frederick Wheeler, that the money be used to benefit the entire high school by making a purchase for the library or other common area, was supported. The committee agreed to let Superintendent Marshall decide and make the purchase.

* A Ludwig drum stand and case, donated to Ashby Elementary School by Mr. and Mrs. Brooke, of Ashby, was officially accepted.

* A $3,000 donation from the North Middlesex Cowboys was accepted.

* A field trip to Manchester, N.H., by Nissitissit Middle School seventh-graders was accepted.

* A revised “cafeteria plan” that complies with Massachusetts Health Care Reform was adopted.