RICHMOND — The Richmond School Committee has added several positions back into its proposed budget for 2023-24 after about 25 community members voiced opposition to the cuts at a public hearing Wednesday. 

The proposed spending plan for the new municipal district now sits at $7,852,461, which includes two of four positions the committee agreed to include, and about $200,000 in cuts from the original draft.

The budget will increase by about $53,000 when the remaining two positions are folded in. 

As it stands, Richmond would be responsible for paying $4,752,490 of the budget, and the state would pay $3,099,971. Last year, the town paid $3,874,480 to Regional School Unit 2 — $878,010 less than the latest budget proposal. 

Interim Superintendent Bob Webster and the School Committee said they cut several positions so they could present a budget that was “balanced” given the district is in its first year and grappling with many “unknowns.” 

Most residents at the public hearing said they were upset that officials had cut the response to intervention, or RTI, coordinator and the technology integrator, both of whom are now working at the schools.


The RTI coordinator has a number of responsibilities, but works mainly with students who have individualized education plans.

The technology integrator also helps in many ways, including addressing technology difficulties, teaching students to code and informing them about safe internet practices.

The School Committee decided to add both of the positions, and two ed tech positions that are now unfilled, back into the budget when the public hearing concluded.

Resident Dave Crossman told the School Committee to keep everything in the budget and allow voters to decide the spending plan they want for students. Crossman said a majority of the town’s residents voted to withdraw from RSU 2, so they should anticipate an increased budget.

“If the school budget comes up and the town isn’t in favor, give them the choice,” Crossman said. “This is what it’s going to be. We are not going to cut teachers, cut buses. Are we going to cut food? Or field trips? Don’t. Put it out there. Let people vote and let the majority speak. If they don’t like it, amend it and send it back.”

Before the School Committee decided to add certain positions back into the proposed budget, three vacant ed tech positions and a vacant bus driver position faced cuts. Two of the ed techs were for Marcia Buker Elementary School at 28 High St., and the third — a special education ed tech — was for Richmond Middle School at 132 Main St.


Officials said the two ed tech positions at Marcia Buker Elementary School have not been filled for a year, but residents argued the positions’ being unfilled does not mean they are not needed. The School Committee added the two ed tech positions back into the budget at an estimated combined cost of $52,609. 

“If we cut the positions and have no backup on who would take on the work — and let me tell you, it will be the teachers, and that won’t cut it for high morale — it’s going to be too much,” said Kymm O’Brien, a resident of the town and teacher outside the district. 

While residents urged the School Committee to keep the current proposed budget with no additional cuts, School Committee member Russ Hughes said there are some residents who do not want their property taxes to increase. 

“It would be great to fund everything we want,” Hughes said to the School Committee after the public hearing had ended. “We owe it to the people who weren’t here to have due diligence and be responsible, but I think we are doing that.” 

Webster said the budget is still subject to change, especially if the Richmond School District receives Title I funding, which is from U.S. Department of Education and granted to schools with greater numbers of low-income families.

Marcia Buker Elementary School has received the money in the past, but the School Committee does not know if the school will still qualify now that it is separate from RSU 2.

If the district receives Title I funding, it can use the money to pay for certain ed tech positions, according to officials. At the urging of community members, Webster said he will look for other grants for which the district might qualify.

Webster made $111,441 in cuts to the administrative portion of the budget. He will work part time beginning July 1, and his salary is to be reduced by $27,000. He also cut the salaries of two positions that have yet to be filled, and chose less expensive financial software. 

The School Committee is expected to vote on the proposed budget next Thursday during its regular meeting at the Town Office. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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