Three cheers — no, make that four cheers for the Shaker Regional School District in Belmont. In contrast to the frequent reports of added public costs connected with the coronavirus epidemic, the district is reporting that it has saved taxpayers some money.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Tursi explained this to Belmont selectmen this week. He said the district saved money on busing, on classroom supplies, on spring sports, on canceled field trips, and more.
It negotiated a 65% reduction in transportation because it is not busing children to school. Its utility bill is lower because the schools are closed. It’s a shame about spring sports and field trips, but money was saved there as well.
Tursi cautioned that any damages to the laptops the district handed out for remote learning would need to be expensed. But the district has also applied for grants to offset spending on transportation (limited that it was) and cleaning supplies.
The savings is not to be sneezed at (with or without a mask). School Board Chairman Sean Embree and business administrator Debbie Thompson joined Tursi in presenting their estimate to selectmen. Needed tax revenues may be lowered by as much as $850,000.
No doubt school boards in Manchester, Nashua and elsewhere are hard at work doing the math so that they can report similar good news to local taxpayers.