As Woonsocket's School Committee reviewed a draft $64 million budget in advance of an anticipated vote on the document Monday, the final figure was increasing.
Nearly two hours in, the Committee had already added two $89,000 elementary school principal positions at Savoy and Harris Schools to the mix, in anticipation of thawing out a hiring freeze.
The Committee also added $550,000 for a capital budget, which would cover the biggest ticket item on a laundry list of needed fixes: a new boiler for Bernon Heights Elementary School with a likely cost of $500,000. The original request on the capital budget was $860,000.
At $550,000, Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan said, if they are forced to fix the boiler, "If one other thing happens, we'll be in deficit status right away." Committee member Chris Roberts said it was reasonable to ask the city for emergency funds should something catastrophic occur.
School Committee Chair Anita Forcier-McGuire said the ultimate budget figure was still a moving target. She stressed that the numbers they discussed do not take federal funding into account. With federal funds, she said, the final figure will likely reach the $70 million dollar range.
The School Committee has another meeting on the budget scheduled for Monday, May 14 at 5 p.m. The agenda for that meeting lists a vote on the budget, in anticipation of sending it to the Woonsocket City Council.