SHIRLEY — Town Administrator Patrice Garvin told selectmen Monday night that according to her calculations, the Ayer Shirley Regional School District has surplus money in its coffers.
A “cherry sheet” comparison Garvin prepared for selectmen showed ASRSD surplus revenue of $490,484 for fiscal year 2015. That amount can be “rolled over” into next year, she said.
Depending on whether the district has plans for the surplus, which could also be waylaid by unexpected expenses, that black balance could be good news in terms of annual assessments, that former Superintendent Carl Mock warned would continue to rise.
At Town Meeting last month, voters approved an amended school district assessment for Shirley that was lower than originally asked for but higher than the town budgeted for.
With a proposed eight percent hike at issue versus four percent in the municipal budget, school and town officials reached an eleventh-hour compromise on Town Meeting floor to close the gap, settling on an amount that seemed fair to both sides if not ideal for either one.
Mock said at the time that the district’s budget, which included funding for new teachers, fell short of the best it could do for students and that staff wish list items were shelved.
Now, it turns out the school district might have extra money in the bank.
Besides state education aid, the balance Garvin presented includes reserve funds from School Choice tuition receipts, which can be tapped to offset the school lunch program.
The final figure might be more when other money not yet certified is added in, she said.
Garvin acknowledged, however, that she had not yet spoken with ASRSD Business Manager Evan Katz to hash out the numbers from the schools’ slant.
Heads up on Devens
Selectman Bob Prescott reported on the latest JBOS meeting, with a heads-up for Town Meeting this fall.
JBOS formed a working group to work on proposed Devens zoning changes with MassDevelopment, Prescott said. The agency is seeking “zoning relief” to move forward with its docket of project plans.
The zoning changes MassDevelopment wants would allow a senior living complex in the Shirley Village Growth area, health-care uses in additional districts and commercial uses on Grant Road, which is now slated for 120 new homes and is zoned residential. In addition, a proposed zoning map change involves a land swap, Prescott said.
He also ceded his duties as JBOS representative to Chairman David Swain.
Prescott cited his appointment to the Economic Development Committee, which has stepped up its schedule and now meets every week as his reason for stepping down from JBOS.
Swain accepted the JBOS seat and Prescott agreed to serve as alternate. The board voted unanimously for the switch.
Swain noted that Gov. Deval Patrick, in his recently released budget, zeroed out $2.2 million in prison mitigation funding lawmakers earmarked for communities that host state prisons, including Shirley.
He asked Garvin to contact state representatives about it.