By Katina Caraganis
SHIRLEY -- Town boards in Shirley must come up with a considerable amount of money.
The school district's finance director said that because the town has not paid its full target share for the district, its required local contribution has increased 11 percent for the next fiscal year.
A community's required local contribution is determined by the per capita income of the residents plus property values.
The town would have to come up with an additional $260,000 for its portion, according to Superintendent of Schools Carl Mock. He said that if the district were to get the $300,000 in new growth revenue from the town, he would still need to target $800,000 to cut from the budget.
"There was clearly a dramatic shift here from Ayer to Shirley," Mock said. Ayer pays twice as much as Shirley does in money to the district, and if Shirley cannot afford its portion, the difference is shifted to Ayer.
"We need to give serious consideration to some sort of relief from the state. We need to start having some serious conversations. This is an extraordinary situation," he said.
School Committee Member Susan Therriault said that the problem needs to be fixed for a number of years rather than just coming up with a band aid solution.
"A temporary solution is only going to compound the problem we have. Obviously we need some sort of relief this year but we need a more long-term solution to fix the problem,"
Mock agreed, saying that it's unclear how many other districts may be in the same predicament and if the committee asked for some sort of legislative help, they may be up against a number of other communities.
He said it's imperative the town's leadership committee, which is compromised of town officials, finance committee members and school committee members, to decide what they want to do.
"The regional leadership has a lot to think about and talk about. We'll have to convene them almost immediately and see if we can get some our legislators on board to help," he said.
Members of the School Committee plan to go to the Shirley Finance Committee meeting Monday night at the town hall to at least continue discussions.
Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @kcaraganis.