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Town and School Budget Updates and Presentations

Town and School Budget Updates and Presentations - Superintendent's Bulletin #23 - School Opening 2020-2021

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff;

The budgeting process for the Town of Belmont has been underway for several months, including numerous public meetings of the School Committee, Select Board, and Financial Task Force II, as well as public forums sponsored by the Warrant Committee. I want to share with you an update on this process and invite you to participate in the continuing discussions.

On January 22nd, the Select Board agreed to put a $6.4M override question on the ballot for Belmont voters to decide at the town election on April 6, 2021. The override is part of a 3-year financial plan that utilizes reserve funds in combination with an override to provide stability for town and school services.

This plan comes at a difficult time, but the needs are real. In the documents listed below, there is a wealth of information providing background on the decision to make this request – the structural deficit, work that has been done to reduce it, detailed financial modeling and assumptions for the future, and draft budget proposals.

The Warrant Committee held a third public forum at a joint meeting between the Select Board and committees (Warrant, School Committee, and Financial Task Force II) on January 25. The Warrant Committee presentation outlined information to explain more of the financial picture in making an override decision. These presentations are very informative and can be read in a stand-alone presentation or viewed on demand at the Belmont Media Center website. For your convenience and perusal, below are links to town and school presentations and videos. Town presentations can be found on the town website under the FY22 Budget Information tab. School department presentations can be found on the School Committee page and the School Opening page on the BPS website.


Warrant Committee Presentations and Video (Belmont Media Center):

Presentation #3A Fork in the Road: Making Decisions on Belmont’s Financial Future - January 25, 2021

Presentation #2  - Examining Financial Options for FY22 and Beyond – January 7, 2021

Presentation #1Structural Deficits, Budget Cuts, and Overrides - December 9, 2020

Financial Task Force II/Select Board Video (Belmont Media Center):

Video of Financial Task Force II and Select Board voting on override amount – January 22, 2021

Town Upcoming Forum/Public Dates – Date and Time TBD:

The Warrant Committee will hold a forum in early February to discuss the two FY22 budget scenarios; a positive vote for an override or no override. Please look at the town calendar to see the date. In February, the Select Board will determine what the budget cut number will be in the event an override does not pass.


School Department Presentations and Video (Belmont Media Center):

FY22 Budget Trajectory – January 6, 2021

FY22 Draft Budget – December 8, 2020

School Department Upcoming Forums/Public Dates – Date and Time TBD unless otherwise noted; please see more communications closer to dates:

  • The School Committee will also hold a public forum in February. Please see the School Committee page and the BPS website for notification of the date and time.
  • PTO/PTA will hold budget sessions at all three levels:
    -Elementary schools, February 10, 7:00 p.m.
    -CMS and BHS, March 3, 6:30 p.m.

As said in the last superintendent’s newsletter, January is normally the time the school department conducts budget discussions for the upcoming year. This year, the impact of the pandemic and planning the next few years with an override in mind, has brought the budget to the forefront of our conversations with town departments, the School Committee, and the Belmont community. We appreciate your time, and thank you in advance for your attention.


John P. Phelan
Superintendent of Schools
Belmont, Massachusetts