More than two dozen residents attended a hearing on a proposed $446 million school budget on Monday night at Central High School, offering comments ranging from the value of the MCAS test as a graduation requirement to the need for universal pre-kindergarten.
School Superintendent Daniel Warwick, Mayor Domenic Sarno and School Committee members thanked the residents who turned out, noting that it was the most well-attended budget hearing in years. School Committee member Christopher Collins said that in past years only one or two people showed up for the hearing.
Warwick said the preparation of the budget for fiscal year 2015 was particularly challenging because state funding - which provides the lion's share of the funding - is predicted to increase less than 1 percent. A $4 million increase in funding for charter and school of choice students and a cut in federal grant money also had an impact on the budget, he said.