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TOWNSEND — In an effort to better inform residents and town officials about budget-setting decisions, to become more involved and to develop long-range goals, the North Middlesex Regional School District Committee has established a three-member District Finance Subcommittee of the school board.

The subcommittee comes with a suggested 10-point list of duties and responsibilities that includes publication of financial goals and a fiscal year 2010 budget development timeline.

The concept had been discussed last month and was unanimously accepted this week.

Subcommittee members include School Committee members Tamara LeClerc, Sue Fitzgerald and Susan Robbins, each acting as a liaison with their respective community finance committees. They were appointed through May 2009, at which time the subcommittee will be reorganized.

“We have a lot of volatility and we expect a very challenging budget,” Superintendent Maureen Marshall said. “I expect meetings will start about five-ish and may finish by 10 p.m. I expect to take time with the budget.”

At least two, if not more, meetings are foreseen between January and March 2009.

Suggested duties and responsibilities include:

* A review of policy related to the financial operation of the district.

* Developing and publicizing district financial goals.

* Working with the administration to generate long-range budget plans.

* Comparing and contrasting expenditure patterns with other school districts.

* Examining allocation of grant revenues.

* Meet with the superintendent, finance director, and treasurer at least twice per year to discuss cash flow, expenses and any related issues.

* Meeting with district auditors to review the annual audit report then report findings to the School Committee.

* Attending meetings with finance committees in Ashby, Pepperell and Townsend at least once per fiscal year.

* Meeting with NMRSD administration and school principals to review fiscal 2010 budget proposals.

* Approving and publicizing a fiscal 2010 budget development timeline.