Print Print
  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XII EDUCATION
  • CHAPTER 71 PUBLIC SCHOOLS
  • Section 16B Budgets; apportionment of expenses

Section 16B. The regional district school committee, by a two-thirds vote of all its members, shall annually determine the amounts necessary to be raised, after deducting the amount of aid such district is to receive pursuant to section sixteen D, to maintain and operate the district school or schools during the next fiscal year, and amounts required for payment of debt and interest incurred by the district which will be due in the said year, and shall apportion the amount so determined among the several municipalities in accordance with the terms of the regional school district agreement. The amounts so apportioned for each municipality shall be certified by the regional school district treasurer to the treasurers of the several municipalities within thirty days from the date on which the annual budget is adopted by a two-thirds vote of the regional district school committee, but not later than April thirtieth. The regional school district treasurer shall include in the certification to each municipality a statement setting forth the amount which the district is to receive under said section sixteen D for the ensuing fiscal year and the proportionate share of such aid for such municipality, the amount, if any, by which the unencumbered amount in the excess and deficiency fund, so called, of the regional school district at the end of the preceding fiscal year, as certified by the commissioner of revenue pursuant to section sixteen B1/2, exceeded five per cent of the regional school district’s operating budget and its budgeted capital costs for the current fiscal year, and the proportionate share of any such excess in said fund by which such municipality’s assessment for the current fiscal year was reduced.

The regional school district treasurer shall provide a copy of the adopted budget to the chairmen of the boards of selectmen, chairmen of the finance committees, mayors, presidents of the city councils and the treasurers of the several municipalities.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the superintendent of schools of a regional school district may, on matters relating to the regional school budget, address the membership at a city council meeting, a town meeting or a meeting of the town council in a municipality having a town council form of government in cities and towns within the regional school district when the regional school budget is being considered.

The members of a regional school district, including a vocational regional school district, may elect to reallocate the sum of their required local contributions to the district in accordance with the regional agreement; provided, however, that the total sum of their required contributions shall not be decreased. Election shall be by approval of all members of the district. Approval of each member shall be given by majority vote at an annual or special town meeting, in the case of towns, or by majority vote of the council, in the case of cities. The commissioner of education shall be notified upon the adoption of this section by this district. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the calculation of the members’ required local contributions for any succeeding year as provided by chapter seventy of the General Laws.

The annual regional school district budget as adopted by a two-thirds vote of the regional school district committee shall require the approval of two-thirds of the local appropriating authorities of the member municipalities. The regional school district budget so approved shall be apportioned between or among the member municipalities and paid in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

In the event that the regional school district budget in a regional school district is not approved by at least two-thirds of the member municipalities as required by this section, the regional school district committee shall have thirty days to reconsider, amend and resubmit a budget on the basis of the issues raised. The amounts required to be raised on account of the regional school district budget shall be reapportioned between or among the member municipalities by the regional school district committee and a copy of the amended budget shall be provided, not later than seven days from the date the amended regional school district budget was adopted by the regional school district committee, to the chairmen of the boards of selectmen, chairmen of the finance committees, mayors, presidents of the city councils and treasurers of the member municipalities. With the approval of the commissioner of education, a regional school district committee may have an additional fifteen days within which to reconsider, amend and reapportion said budget. The respective amounts reapportioned between or among the member municipalities by the regional school district committee shall be recertified by the district treasurer to the treasurers of the member municipalities not later than seven days from the date the amended regional school district budget was adopted by the regional school district committee. Prior to the expiration of forty-five days from the date on which such budget was adopted by the regional school district committee, each member municipality shall hold a meeting of the local appropriating authority to act upon the appropriation of the budget so reapportioned and recertified to it. If the appropriating authorities of at least two-thirds of the member municipalities vote to appropriate the amounts so reapportioned and recertified to them, such budget shall be considered approved and shall be apportioned between or among the member municipalities and paid by them in accordance with the terms of the regional school district agreement. In the case of a regional school district having three or more members, if the appropriating authorities of more than one-third of the member municipalities vote not to appropriate the amounts so reapportioned and recertified to them, then the budget shall again be recommitted to the regional school district committee for action pursuant to this paragraph. In the case of a two-member regional school district, if the appropriating authority of either member municipality votes not to appropriate the amount so reapportioned and recertified to it, the provisions of the following paragraph shall apply.

The regional school district committee shall convene a special district-wide meeting open to all registered voters in both municipalities at which the amended regional school district budget, proposed by the regional school district committee, shall be considered. Such meeting shall be called pursuant to a warrant, under the hands of at least a majority of the regional school district committee, notice of which shall be given at least fourteen days prior to the date of such meeting. The warrant shall state the time, place and purpose of the meeting and shall be directed to the district secretary, who shall give notice by posting a copy in the city or town clerk’s office and at least two other public places in each member municipality and who shall further provide notice by publishing a copy of said warrant in at least one newspaper in general circulation within the member municipalities. The boards of selectmen of the member municipalities in a joint meeting shall, by a majority vote of those present, appoint a town moderator or any other person acceptable to the boards of selectmen to act as moderator and the district secretary shall keep the record of such meeting. Approval of the regional school district budget shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of those present and voting thereon, by a counted vote. The regional school district budget so approved shall be apportioned between the member municipalities and paid by them in accordance with the terms of the regional school district agreement. If, after submission of the budget, no agreement is reached as to a budget for the regional school district, the district shall notify the Department of Education of a lack of a budget and the commissioner, or his designee, shall certify an amount sufficient for the operation of the district and order the appropriation thereof in an amount not less than 1/12 of the total budget approved by the region in the most recent fiscal year. Similar sums shall be certified and appropriated for each successive month to insure the continued provision of services by the district until such time as a budget is adopted and approved by the regional committee and member towns in the manner otherwise provided herein. In the event a budget is not adopted by December first in any year, the department shall assume operation of the district and funds for same shall be deducted from local aid distributed to member towns.

A member municipality of a regional school district having three or more members need not hold a meeting of its local appropriating authority to act upon the appropriation of amounts reapportioned and recertified to it if it has previously voted to appropriate for the regional school district an amount equal to or greater than the amount so recertified to it, notwithstanding the provisions of the fifth paragraph of this section. A municipality that does not hold such a meeting prior to expiration of forty-five days from the date on which an amended budget was adopted by the regional school district committee shall be deemed to have voted to appropriate the amounts reapportioned and recertified to it.

At any time after the adoption of the annual budget, the regional district school committee may reduce the amount to be raised by assessment to the several municipalities and reapportion the reduced amount in accordance with the terms of the regional school district agreement for apportionment of costs. The regional school district treasurer shall recertify the amounts reapportioned to the treasurers of the several municipalities within thirty days from the date on which the regional district school committee votes to reduce the annual budget or assessments. If the recertification is made after the annual town meeting of a member town, the amount recertified shall be considered an amendment to the amount required to have been appropriated at that meeting without the necessity for further action by the town, and, if the annual assessment of taxes has not been made, the municipal assessors shall include only the amount so recertified in making the annual assessment of taxes under the provisions of section twenty-three of chapter fifty-nine.

For the purposes of this section, a vote or votes by a local appropriating authority to appropriate the municipality’s apportioned share of the regional school district budget shall constitute approval of the annual regional school district budget; provided, however, that any municipality’s apportioned share may not be increased in the same fiscal year without approval of the local appropriating authority.

The clerk of each member municipality shall, within seven days following a vote concerning a regional school district budget or apportionment, certify in writing to the treasurer of the regional school district the results of such vote by the municipality.

This section shall apply to all regional school districts established under the provisions of a special law, notwithstanding any contrary provisions in any such special law.