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CHICOPEE — The Chicopee Public Schools Finance and Budget Subcommittee met again on May 20 to continue its discussion on the preliminary fiscal year 2025 budget.

Chicopee School’s Director of Budget and Finance John Miarecki gave the presentation with input from Superintendent Marcus Ware.

Miarecki went over the last few years of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief spending, Special Education spending, out of district spending and new positions added in FY24.

Special Education spending was at $25 million in 2023 which was gradually increased from $22 million in 2018. The 2024 numbers were not available at the time of the presentation because the district is still tracking those numbers, according to Miarecki.

He added that the $3 million increase is made up of is paraprofessionals budget increased by $440,000 because of the need to hire more paraprofessionals and an increase in expenses within the classroom by approximately $200,000.

Out of district costs and rates have also increased over the last five years.

In 2018, Chicopee Public Schools budgeted for approximately $850,000 but spent $1.125 million and the budgeted amount since then has increased to approximately $5 million in 2025 but Miarecki added that any money that is not used by the end of the year goes back into the education stabilization fund.

FY23 saw 31 students placed out of district, while FY24 saw 40 students and FY25 is projected to have 55 students placed out of district.

“You can see why we’re hard pressed to make sure that number we moved up to a number that was comfortable to sustain that movement of students to the out of district,” Miarecki added.

The presentation showed that in 2024 there are no ESSER funds or funded positions in the budget.

In 2022 there were 16 positions funded by ESSER totaling approximately $848,300 and 30 positions in 2023 totaling approximately $1.3 million.

The presentation went into a deeper look at what positions were being funded in 2022 and 2023 including a director of counseling, a nurse, vice principal, multiple teachers and paraprofessionals.

Although the FY24 budget saw no ESSER funded positions, Miarecki said all the positions listed from the previous years have been absorbed into the budget.

Ware and Miarecki added that no positions have been eliminated at this time.

FY24 also saw five new positions get added to the budget totaling $316,000.

In terms of FY25, the budget is projected to be about $128.8 million which is an increased from the $122.1 million budget in FY24.

Miarecki talked about the upcoming process for the budget at the beginning of June including a different number being presented to the City Council.

He added, “When we go to City Council to get approved or when it’s put in front of you at the beginning of June, the number you are going to see is that $118,711,773. We’ll also have to ask for that $7.7 million of stabilization fund. What the rest is other incomes so that is not put in what we’re requesting from City Council because that is already in our coffers.”

The FY25 budget presentation broke down the Chapter 70 and city contributions from the previous year which have both increased.

Miarecki added there is an extra $133,000 that the House and Senate awarded Chicopee within the Chapter 70 calculation but is not currently included in the budget because it hasn’t officially been approved by Gov. Maura Healey.

The breakdown also showed increased to transportation, net school spending, total available funding, school choice, circuit breaker and the education stabilization fund.

Miarecki said some of the numbers still may change as before their next meeting, him and his team will continue to go through the budget with a “comb to go through and see places we can save money when it comes to our rehires.”

Ware said that the plan is to present the final preliminary budget to the School Committee on June 5 and then to the City Council soon after that.

He added that his presentation will include plenty of information and transparency to make sure they are clear in why the budget is projected to be the way it is.

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