LUDLOW — Superintendent Frank Tiano discussed the fiscal year 2025 budget with the School Committee during its Jan. 23 meeting.

During the Jan. 9 School Committee meeting, Tiano reported on the fiscal year 2025 budget that included the revelation that the district would require less money than anticipated to maintain level services, but still more than it anticipates receiving.

In October, Tiano said he initially thought that a 7% increase or approximately $2.5 million was needed to reach level service. After going through each budget line again, the anticipated increase needed to reach level service was 4.8% or $1.7 million.

“We had some good news in terms of in our rough estimates we had estimated high in terms of what that cost would be to provide a level service budget,” Tiano added.

After continuing to work on the budget, receiving official costs and additional funding, Tiano said right now the anticipated level service increase is 4.3% or $1.5 million.

The estimated increase available from the town is 3% or approximately $1 million.

That would still leave the schools 1.3% or approximately $453,000 below a level service budget.

Tiano said the town’s estimate can still change as well.

“This is with the assumption of a 3% increase from the town. How their revenues come in, how their projections and so forth. If that number were to decrease, additional reductions would have to be made. The opposite is true should the percentage be increased beyond 3%.” Tiano added.

Tiano discussed what potential reductions may look like in the FY25 budget including the loss of full-time positions.

Next year, Ludlow Public Schools would be able to reduce the teaching staff at Ludlow High School by seven without greatly impacting class size.

“Using $65,000 per full time employee, that would be a savings of $455,000,” Tiano added.

In addition to class size, Tiano further discussed that he and administration looked at the roles and workloads of the staff and could potentially reduce another two positions by redistributing responsibilities and contractual manner.

Tiano said this would be a savings of an additional $130,000.

“We will continue to assess our expenses for additional reductions; however, we made significant reductions last year as we built the FY24 budget. Any decision will be made with consideration of our impact on our improvement plan,” Tiano added.

In FY24, the loss in funding forced the district to eliminate the positions for 22 full-time employees.

“We don’t want to lose any staff. We have said that repeatedly. As part of our exercises and asking our principals to go through, we pulled the enrollment and class size across the board, electives so forth and this is something that seems like a reality,” Tiano said.

Tiano added that he is also prioritizing where the schools may need additional staff and/or resources to meet the needs of students and families.

This is also the last year of one-time Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds being accounted for in the budget.

“It’s approximated to the $400,000 we have in ESSER funds that we have in our current FY24 budget that will no longer be there next year. So, for us for the last two years, as we had one time money in our budget, our budget next year is not built with one time money for the first time in a few years which is great,” Tiano added.

Tiano said that he will host a budget public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

“We will go through with a presentation and provide levels of detail. This is where the public and the committee gets to ask us questions. We will have our budget lines and budget sheets available for folks and everyone can ask their questions,” he said.

After that, there will be a joint meeting scheduled to take place on Feb. 27 between the Finance and School committees along with the Board of Selectmen.