TOWNSEND -- Nashoba Valley Technical High School Superintendent Judith Klimkiewicz defended the school's proposed budget increase for fiscal year 2015 against complaints from a resident at Thursday night's Finance Committee meeting.

Townsend resident Todd Melanson said he was displeased with the school's proposed 5 percent budget increase for fiscal 2015, as the North Middlesex Regional School District has asked for just a 2 percent increase.

"I am tired as a resident of Townsend of fighting tooth and nail just to keep what we have," Melanson said.

According to Klimkiewicz, the increase is due almost entirely to increases in student population, which grew by 4.7 percent this year.

Comparing the two districts is like comparing apples and oranges, Klimkiewicz said, because of differences in requirements for technical education. Technical education teachers are on a different pay scale than academic teachers, and at Nashoba Tech instructors often teach more class periods per day, she said.

His biggest issue, Melanson said, is not the Nashoba Tech budget itself, but the process by which it is passed. He said that because only five of the district's eight member towns need to approve the budget for it to pass, there is often less scrutiny in individual towns than there is for other districts.

"Part of my problem with this is I don't like the process. I don't like the in-your-face process that my school system has to go through," Melanson said.

"I just don't feel the process is fair, and what ends up happening is we end up fighting to keep what we have, but continue to lose ground, which then makes people go. It's almost self-defeating," he added.

Klimkiewicz countered the notion that the Nashoba Tech budget process isn't as transparent, saying that public meetings had been held throughout the budget process.

"I have never been untruthful and nothing about this is factually incorrect," Klimkiewicz said.

She said that the school's cost per pupil is the lowest of all technical schools in the state, and that the budget increases are necessary to keep up with growth.

"I can promise you that we try very hard to make sure we give our students the best," Klimkiewicz said.

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