By Katina Caraganis

MediaNews

TOWNSEND -- The North Middlesex Regional School Committee will likely certify its fiscal 2014 operating budget of $45,034,706 at its next meeting in March after hearing no backlash during its budget hearing Monday night.

The budget as proposed is $197,624, or 0.44 percent, higher than the current operating budget, according to Superintendent of Schools Joan Landers.

The budget was proposed to community members at Monday night's budget hearing, and the approximately 20 people who attended the hearing had no questions for the superintendent.

The finance subcommittee had authorized Landers to balance the budget with money from the reserve account if needed, but she said she was hesitant about doing that.

The budget as proposed has $200,000 from the reserve account, but Landers said she was authorized to spend double that if needed.

"I wanted to be conservative with using that," she said. "I think we have a few more financially stressfully years ahead of us."

The major reductions for the upcoming fiscal year include:

* Eliminating one high-school administrator.

* Eliminating one IT staff position.

* Reducing out-of-district placements.

* Eliminating the assistant-superintendent position and replacing it with a director of curriculum.

* Eliminating coach stipends.

* Reducing vehicle leases.

* Reducing transportation for homeless students.


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* Allocating the circuit-breaker grant for special-education students for out-of-district placements.

The committee meets again March 11, and pending any moves made by the governor in his projected budget figures, the budget should be certified that night.

Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @kcaraganis.