FY24 Budget Book

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Nashoba Regional School Committee

Brett Collins- Lancaster

Amy Cohen- Bolton

Karen Devine- Stow

Joseph Gleason- Lancaster, Secretary

Michael Horesh- Bolton, Vice Chairperson

Maureen Mazzone- Stow

Sharon Poch- Lancaster

Scott Powell- Stow

Shandor Simon- Lancaster

Amy Vessels- Bolton

Leah Vivirito- Stow, Chairperson

Central Office Administration

Kirk Downing, Superintendent

Laura Friend, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

Joan DeAngelis, Director of Pupil Personnel Service

Ross Mulkerin, Business and Operations Manager

Ann Marie Stoica, Director of Human Resources

With Assistance From:

Renan Assuncao, Assistant Director of Business and Operations

Victoria Chartier, Treasurer/HR Specialist

Bridget Hannigan, Communication Coordinator

Aleta Masterson, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent

Darci Wardwell, Payroll/HR Specialist

Summary Financial Information Budget Timeline Post Budget Workshop Updates FY24 Budget Five Year Budget Summary Cost Drivers Summary of Salary and Non-Salary Expenses Funding Sources Excess and Deficiency Debt Assessment Town Assesments Grant Funds and Revolving Accounts 11-12 13 14 16-17 15 18-20 21 22 23 24 25-27 A Message from the Superintendent Student Achievement Update FY24 Strategic Initiatives District and Town Enrollment 1-3 4-5 6-7 8-10
TableofContents Executive
and Department Budgets Nashoba Regional High School 28-30 Luther Burbank Middle School Hale Middle School Florence Sawyer School Mary Rowlandson Elementary School The Center School System-Wide, Insurance & Benefits, and Substitutes Special Education Health and Wellness Extended Learning Technology Facilities 31-33 34-36 37-39 44-46 40-43 51-54 55-57 58-60 61 62-64 65-67 Glossary Appendix Strategic Plan Other Post Employment Benefits Liability 77-97 98 Teaching and Learning 47-50 Athletics 68-70 71-76
TableofContents School

Executive Summary

AMessagefromthe Superintendent

On June 22, 2022 the Nashoba Regional School Committee voted to approve a strategic plan that will serve as the road map for our school district up to and through the 2026-2027 school year. Titled “Learning Along the Great Road” our plan is written in service to the young people of Bolton, Lancaster, and Stow. At the forefront of our plan is a letter to the community which I would like to share with you.

Learning Along the Great Road

What is greatness? This was one of many questions our strategic planning team debated as we poured over pages and pages of artifacts in an effort to best understand the needs and wants of our school community How does one measure greatness? Is greatness an intrinsic quality or an extrinsic result? Should "great" be the standard by which we measure success in our school system? Should "great" be the standard by which we measure success for our students? These philosophical questions may lead to thoughtful discourse, but they fall short in terms of any singularly defined answer. Instead, let us consider a universal truth about greatness. Greatness is not achieved by happenstance. It requires vision. It is forged from core values. It is intentional. It requires hard work, dedication, and a persistent spirit. Greatness is deeply personal.

The journey we embarked on in developing our strategic plan started months, even years, ago. This document memorializes the moment in time when we examined our organization with a deeply critical lens and asked, "What do we need to do to reach greatness as a Nashoba Regional School District, and how do we embrace the unique qualities of each individual to achieve personal greatness?

The strategic planning team scrutinized our current mission and vision to craft a new mission and vision that reflects the updated core values of our organization. We also crafted a theory of action that represents what we need to do to ensure we reach our mission in the spirit of students first. Finally, we identified and prioritized the strategic initiatives to create a map of what we need to accomplish in the next five years. Our plan is intentionally ambitious because that is what our students deserve. 1

AMessagefromthe Superintendent

The resulting document is a dynamic strategic plan that will shift annually to reflect the progress of the organization as well as address unexpected challenges that may arise It will be a five year journey that will shape our organization to become what we envision it to be As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ” Let this be our first step in realizing a new vision for our school system

The towns of Lancaster, Bolton and Stow are connected by Route 117, a road known as,”The Great Road ” It is along that road that all six of our schools are connected. It is my hope that we galvanize as one collective community around this plan to ensure our students have the skills, knowledge and confidence to make their dreams become a reality. After all, schools are learning; Learning Along the Great Road.

At the end of the day, school systems are measured by how well we prepare our students for life after graduation. Whether our students choose college, career, or service after high school, we want our graduates to become lifelong learners who develop a personal voice, grow to understand how choices have an impact beyond intention and develop a strong sense of agency and responsibility. Those competencies thrive fully in safe, caring, and collaborative environments where a sense of belonging is felt by all. We strive to be an organization that fulfills our vision, “Be your best self. Pave your path. Impact the world.”



Connections and Communications

The first objective in our strategic plan outlines the priority initiatives identified as priorities relative to Connections and Communications. It is our goal to improve our communications methodologies and further strengthen our partnerships with the community through civic engagement and collaboration.


Learning, Teaching, and Leading

At the core of our mission as an educational institution is learning and this is the driver for the second objective, Learning, Teaching, and Leading This year we have stepped into the work of our plan by focusing on horizontal curriculum alignment across grade levels as well as vertical alignment in curriculum content areas We have also instituted a K-9 assessment system, Renaissance Learning’s Star 360 Math and Reading, which will be the backbone of student assessment portfolios that encompass a body of evidence relative to support learning and growth. Other initiatives will focus on professional development, professional collaboration structures, and civic engagement.

Culture and Belonging #3

The third objective identifies the efforts we will make relative to Culture and Belonging. It is our goal to ensure all students in Bolton, Lancaster, and Stow have a strong sense of belonging in the school system. We will do the necessary work to remove barriers and provide students a fair opportunity to succeed by focusing on equity and the social/emotional development of our students. Our goal is to create a PreK-12 Nashoba identity that we can all be proud of.

Human Resources, Finance, and Facilities #4

The last objective in the plan addresses the Human Resources, Finance, and Facilities sectors of the organization. We know the citizens of our community expect a high-quality education system and they expect us to develop budgets that show fiscal responsibility. The proposed FY24 budget was constructed by applying consistent standards for class size, administration, and support staff to ensure responsible staffing equity across all buildings. The result of our collective efforts is a reduction in 7.5 positions in the district while maintaining the full educational program for our students. We will be able to do this without laying off employees as expected retirements and natural annual attrition will outnumber the reduction in positions. This has helped us mitigate the challenges of increasing costs in energy and out-of-district special education services. If approved by our towns, we will be able to overcome these rising costs and keep high-quality education standards in place.

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StudentAchievement Update

Nashoba is proud of its many accomplishments. From academics to fine and performing arts, to athletics, to extra-curricular activities that extend well beyond the perimeters of the classroom, our students distinguish themselves as scholars, athletes, artists, and overall contributors to the world around them. On so many levels, and in so many ways, Nashoba students excel

While the complexities of the pandemic impact are a part of our current reality, the Nashoba Regional School District learning community is strong and abundantly talented Each and every day, our faculty and staff actively work to build a learning culture rooted in excellence for our students, creating high-quality learning experiences that both accelerate learning and meet individual student needs. A developing foundation of multi-tiered systems of support and the implementation of universal assessment screeners for reading (K-8) and mathematics (K-9), Star Assessments, have become our common lexicon, further supporting our efforts to identify and address the unique learning needs of each student. With timely assessment data in hand, teachers have been able to provide targeted instruction to help our students achieve their full potential and excel in their own right. The path to learning recovery and achievement are evident.

Results from the spring 2022 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) reflect districtwide performance outpacing state averages by 10%-20%, in all assessed areas at all grade levels, English language arts, mathematics, and science technology engineering. Students at our high school are enrolled in Advanced Coursework at notably high rates, with 86% of our 11th and 12th grade students completing at least one advanced course, such as Advanced Placement Rounding out this robust coursework is student participation in numerous extracurricular offerings, including our top-rated athletics program, our highly successful business and leadership DECA program, and our varied fine and performing arts opportunities offered throughout the district during the school day, boasting an 88% participation rate


StudentAchievement UpdateCont.

Offering high-quality learning experiences for students is a priority at Nashoba To supplement the financial investment our community provides through the operating budget, Nashoba has additionally secured federal and state grant funding to extend its fiscal capacity. Federal grant funding provided through The Every Student Succeeds Act and competitive grant funding, such as the High-Quality Instructional Materials Grant awarded by the state, further extend our overall capacity in providing high-quality curriculum and supporting innovative teaching practices.

Whether it be a pathway towards college or career, or somewhere in between, our Portrait of a Nashoba Graduate is one that ensures our students are well-prepared, engaged, empathetic, self-reliant learners with the ability to think critically, problem-solve, and communicate effectively. We are thrilled to see our students consistently excel and look forward to continuing to support their academic and personal growth wherever their path will lead.


FY24Strategic Initiatives

Embedded in this budget are the costs for implementing strategic initiatives memorialized in the NRSD strategic plan. Some highlights of those activities include professional development for faculty and staff pertaining to multi-tiered systems of support, conducting a k-12 equity audit, curriculum curation based on Massachusetts state frameworks, and connecting our work to the Portrait of a Nashoba Graduate competencies These activities will be critical for building instructional strategies to address the learning gaps that arose during the hybrid/remote learning days of the COVID-19 pandemic We will emphasize best practices referred to as “Professional Learning Community” activities to examine learning data and the impact instruction has on student learning. Those efforts will have an immediate impact as we strengthen our practices year after year and set a new benchmark for achievement in our school system.

Knowing we have important work to do in accelerating learning for our students, we also need to staff the schools with a lens of fiscal responsibility. This year we applied classroom size standards across the school system to determine how many teachers are needed to teach our students. We operate under the assumption that we will not begin the school year with more than 22 students per class in grades kindergarten through second grade and no more than 24 students per class in grades three through twelve. By applying those standards we were able to reduce six positions in grades K-8 (Mary Rowlandson Elementary-3, Hale Middle School2, Florence Sawyer School-1) while maintaining a robust educational program.

In 2022 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education conducted a targeted review of the school system and recommended that we increase social-emotional support in the school system. This budget will fund Dean positions at each of our middle schools and the high school to address aspects of student life and code of conduct responsibilities that will free up our counselors and administrators to proactively serve students. Each town and the high school will be supported by a Dean at an approximate ratio of 800 students per dean.


FY24Strategic InitiativesCont.

Continuing to support the social emotional needs of students, we are establishing a staffing standard ratio of 250 students per counselor as recommended by the American School Counselor Association By applying that standard we will be able to shift a guidance counselor from Nashoba Regional High School to the Florence Sawyer school and bring all of our schools within range of the recommendation Nashoba Regional High School’s average student to counselor ratio will be approximately 160-170 students per counselor which is well under the recommendation of the ASCA

We have also established administration standards for each school/town at a ratio of 250 students per administrator. With each town having approximately 750 students and NRHS having over 800 students, each town will be funded with three administrators. That means we will reduce the administrative staffing of the district by 1.6 positions. We can safely make that move knowing the deans at each school will be supporting administration by working with students in daily school activities. Technology skills and innovative instructional practices are critical to the success of our students. This budget also increases 0.4 of an instructional leadership position for the Director of Innovation and Digital Learning.

Other positions have been reduced as a result of moving out of the pandemic. The COVID nurse position has been removed, a custodial position has been reduced to align to staffing standards across schools, and instructional assistant positions have been reduced due to fewer kindergarten sections (MRE) or the positions were shifted to special education to address needs for students on IEP’s.

Net staffing changes are as follows: administration is down 1.2 positions, certified educators are reduced 4.3 positions, and support staff have been reduced by 2.0 positions. These reductions were made responsibly without reducing or eliminating programs, courses, or services to students. Total cost reductions of those positions was approximately $500,000.


DistrictandTown Enrollment

The Nashoba Regional School District provides public school education to the school-aged population of Bolton, Lancaster, and Stow Historical participation in public education at NRSD has consistently been between 85%-89% across all three towns However, the participation rate has changed over time differently in each town


DistrictandTown Enrollment

As seen in the enrollment graphs, participation rates in Bolton and Stow have decreased in recent years as participation in Lancaster has increased. In addition, the overall census numbers for school-aged children (5-17 years old at the beginning of the school year) have decreased over the last ten years. Stow (-160) has seen the largest decrease in school-aged population while Lancaster (+33) has seen a slight increase and Bolton (0) has remained level. Annual assessments for each town are impacted by enrollment as defined in the regional agreement. As one town rises in enrollment in the school system and another town decreases, you should expect that to be reflected in the percentage increase for each town on an annual basis. Operational assessments are based on a five-year rolling average according to the regional agreement.


DistrictandTown Enrollment

As we attempt to forecast future enrollment we can look at current enrollment and historical patterns to understand what we will need in the near future. Those projections are more difficult to make as we monitor potential increases in enrollment due to new construction. The enrollment table for each town and NRHS shows the total enrollment at each grade. We have not experienced significant changes in grade level cohorts until the cohort reaches high school. At that point, 40-50 students typically leave us to attend other schools of which Minuteman Regional Vocational High School is the most common.


Financial Information


The timeline for the FY24 Budget Process was established and shared with the School Committee in the fall of 2023 The timeline provides a lens on the crafting of the budget with the primary focus on our “Learning Along the Great Road” Strategic Plan. In October, the process of articulating strategic priorities through the budget began with analyzing current staffing configurations, non-salary budgets, and capital projects. Those priorities were presented in the budget workshop to the Nashoba Regional School Committee during the month of January. The budget workshop focused on the expense side of the budget as we waited for projections for all revenue sources including state aid. Once the projected revenue streams were determined, accurate town assessment projections were offered to the NRSC. Town officials had an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed budget at the annual finance/advisory committee meeting. The community had the same opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback at the annual budget hearing prior to a vote by the NRSC. On March 15, 2023, the budget was passed by the NRSC and now citizens have an opportunity to vote on approval of the budget at their annual town meetings. For the budget to pass, two of the three towns must vote for approval.


PostBudgetWorkshop Updates

Once the budget is presented at the School Committee Budget Workshop in January, the budgeting process is not complete. The budget process is a dynamic process as new information and sources of funding are determined throughout the months of February and March. These ongoing updates are shown in the table below and were publicly shared at those NRSC meetings.



The operating budget is a culmination of the entirety of the budgeting process. Each school and department has participated in the building, editing, and finalization of our expected expense to support the learning of our Nashoba Regional School District students next year. Prior to the approval vote by the Nashoba Regional School Committee on March 15th, updates to the proposed budget were presented at each meeting throughout February and March. Based on necessary expenses, expected revenues, and grants and offsets, our total FY24 operating budget is $64,902,630 representing a 4.30% increase over the FY23 budget.



The table below shows the changes to the voted budget over five fiscal years along with the dollar increase and percentage increase from each previous year. While there are variable educational needs, contract requirements, market conditions, and aid availability that impact any one year, this provides a “big picture” understanding of how the budget has changed over time.

Once the fiscal year closes and end-of-year reports are complete, the per pupil expenditures for each fiscal year can be reviewed as the entirety of actual expenses of a fiscal year are known. The per pupil expenditure is not a reflection of a fixed cost for each student in the district. Rather, it is the average cost for a student. The ability to successfully provide the appropriate educational experience for each of our students requires variable levels of funding based on the costs incurred within their educational experience.



The FY24 Operating Budget is comprised of sixteen major drivers. These drivers (shown below) are tracked from year-to-year so that trends in any one of these areas can be understood as the budget is built and as well as the impact to the overall increase can also be understood. This year, there is a significant mandated increase in the rate for approved in-state special education placements that serve the needs of students that are not able to be served within their home school district. The mandated increase for these schools is set by the Massachusetts Operational Services Division (OSD) For FY24 the rates were increased by 14% (the last thirteen rate increases ranged from 0 75% to 2 72%) and there has been a call on the legislators to lessen the significant impact on all districts in the state Without immediate relief, our budget is directly impacted by those increases Additionally, utilities are impacted by the same market conditions that residents see in their utility bill increases To offset the steep increase in utility rates, the district has joined a collective bid through the French River Educational Center to drive down our oil costs and work with a new energy procurement firm that will support more competitive rates for natural gas and electricity.

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FY24 17


The district also presents the budget in terms of salary and non-salary for public understanding of the proportions of the budget in those terms These are also the same major cost centers that are tracked monthly in the Operational Reports and are provided to the School Committee by the Business Office administration The table below reflects the entire FY24 Budget, both salary and non-salary:



The table below reflects the FY24 Budget salary expenditures:



The table below reflects the FY24 Budget non- salary expenditures:



The Nashoba Regional School District is primarily funded by the assessment of our member towns which is determined by the NRSD Agreement. The district also receives funding from the state in the form of Chapter 70 Education Aid. The state additionally provides Regional Transportation reimbursement that is available to regional school districts based on the cost of eligible riders. Another major component of the revenue calculation is the appropriation of Excess and Deficiency (E&D) funds. E&D is explained in more detail in the next section.



Annually, the district has appropriated a portion of its Excess and Deficiency (E&D) fund as a revenue source to lessen the impact on member town assessments by offsetting the operational budget By state statute, the district is required to maintain an E&D fund so that any deficit or surplus at the end of the fiscal year may be closed to this fund Per 603 CMR 41 06, a “regional school committee may use all or part of the certified balance in the excess and deficiency fund as a revenue source for its proposed budget” and may not carry more than 5% of its budget in this fund The district is required to have its E&D certified by the Department of Revenue annually and may not use this fund as a revenue source for the budget without that certification. Once certified, the previous fiscal year's E&D becomes available for the aforementioned offset in the next fiscal year. In February of 2023, the Nashoba Regional School District’s FY22 Excess and Deficiency fund was certified at $1,499,142 and $1,200,000 of that fund was voted to be used as an offset in FY24. Please see the table below to review the annual use of E&D as a revenue source in the operational budget. Historically, the district has applied this annual appropriation of E&D to lessen the assessment impact on member towns. Using one-time funds to support annual budgets carries risk. As the district plans for future budgets, it will consider reducing the annual offset of E&D to stabilize the balance within the fund and minimize any potential risk.



The repayment of debt service per the regional agreement is based on enrollment at Nashoba Regional High School Specific to how the debt assessment is calculated, the regional agreement states, “Each member town’s share shall be determined by computing the ratio which its pupil enrollment in such school on October 1 of the year next preceding the year for which the apportionment is made bears to the total pupil enrollment from all the member towns in such school on that date ” Please see the tables below for total debt and the data on high school enrollment for the purposes of debt assessment for FY24:



As stated in the previous section on revenue factors, the majority of revenue is from the assessment of our member towns The assessments of member towns is defined in the regional agreement Per the regional agreement, the operating budget “shall be apportioned among the member towns on the basis of the average of the previous five (5) years enrollment ”



Our operating budget also contains the use of Revolving Funds and Grants to offset the total costs for FY24 The Revolving Funds are School Committee approved accounts that take in revenue and are used for expenditures For example, our Athletic Revolving account is funded by revenue from user fees and is then used to purchase uniforms, equipment, ice time, etc As an offset, we use a portion of the Athletic Revolving revenue to bring down the annual debt payment on the Track and Field Project Our grants can work in a similar fashion dependent upon the terms and scope of the funds available to the district through specific grants. As a grant use example, we have been using the IDEA 240 Grant to offset our cost for special education transportation and also are able to encumber some of the salaries within our grants. Any positions, or portions of positions, that are funded by grants are not part of the operating budget.






Schooland DepartmentBudgets

NashobaRegionalHigh School

There are two changes in store for Nashoba Regional High School for the 2023-2024 school year. As explained in the Florence Sawyer budget, a guidance counselor position will be shifted from Nashoba Regional High School to ensure we meet staffing standards for guidance positions. This change will be that our guidance counselors will have average caseloads of 160-170 students which is well below the recommended ratio of 250 to 1 In addition, the Dean of Students position that has been supported by COVID relief funds through the ESSER III budget, will become permanent The Dean of Students role has been critical in managing the daily life of students in the school environment as it has become a key piece in our proactive strategy to support students who may be struggling. These moves are budget neutral and are supported by the strategic plan as well as the targeted review.

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NashobaRegional HighSchool


LutherBurbankMiddle School

The Luther Burbank Middle School’s identity as an institution is defined by the robust, collaborative partnerships between students, staff, and the Lancaster community It is no wonder that our mission statement aptly begins with the word “together ” We, the LBMS community at large, work, learn, try, succeed, struggle, and grow together It is this partnership that allows us to do our important work and to do it well, and the Lancaster community’s unwavering support remains the bedrock of our collective success. It goes without saying, but let it be said--we are incredibly proud and grateful to be a part of this incredible community.

During the 2022-2023 school year we piloted a Dean of Students position at LBMS to great success. As part of our leadership reorganization plan we will make the Dean of Students position a permanent part of the leadership model and remove the Assistant Principal position from the budget. This move is supported by the strategic plan and the targeted review conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Similar to Florence Sawyer School and Hale Middle School, the Dean of Students will work with students on building positive relationships, coordinating our advisory program and working with families. This position will allow additional flexibility for administrators; (the principal and assistant principals ) to work more closely with teachers on teaching strategies and analysis of student data.

Luther Burbank will also be supported by a literacy specialist and math specialist in a coaching role. They will be instrumental in leading the MTSS model described in the teaching and learning section. The impact of these changes will be budget neutral as we are adding a certified position and reducing an administrative position.

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LutherBurbankMiddle School



Hale Middle School is home to just under 300 students and 50 staff members. Hale continues to be a top-performing middle school in the Commonwealth. Hale is an excellent place for students to explore their interests, hone their academic skills, and prepare for high school. The students and staff at Hale are treated as equal members of a community. We are a community that praises and lauds the achievements of our students and staff Our community believes that with hard work, support, and care for one another our students will be successful in all endeavors

Our 2024 budget, while fiscally conservative, affords Hale with the opportunity to continue to advance as a top-tier middle school in the Commonwealth. The adoption of new programs and curriculum in each grade has significantly improved our students’ ability to enhance their 21st century skills. These skills will prepare them for the challenges that they will face in high school, college and their careers. The addition of math and literacy coaches will help us advance our work and provide target instruction to those who need it.

Next year will be aligned to all school schools in Nashoba in terms of class size ratios and school enrollment ratios for student support. As a result the 6th grade plus position and the 7th grade technology position will be reduced. Our enrollment justifies four sections that rotate through math, ELA, science, and social studies. Like Luther Burbank and Florence Sawyer, a Dean of Students position will be added to the school in lieu of our current part time principal position. This is aligned with the other school according to the staffing standards explained previously. The net result of staffing for Hale will be a reduction of 1.0 certified teachers and 0.6 administration. These initiatives, when combined with motivated students and highly successful teachers, will continue to project Hale on a trajectory of success.

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Our school’s work on social/ emotional learning has helped our students gain the tools of self-awareness and self-regulation The strategic plan and the target review conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education pointed to the need to add additional counseling support to the school. As a result, we are shifting one guidance counselor from NRHS to FSS to support students. Additionally, we are seeking to add a Dean of Students to our leadership team. The Dean of Students would primarily work with our middle school students allowing for a concentrated approach to building positive relationships with students, coordinating our advisory program and working with families. This position will allow additional flexibility for administrators; (the principal and assistant principals ) to work more closely with teachers on teaching strategies and analysis of student data.

The NRSD budget is crucial to our work in teaching and learning. Our elementary teachers in kindergarten through the fifth grade will be entering their second year of implementation of the Bridges Math Program. We have already started to see the impact these curriculum materials are having with rich conversations about mathematics principles and ideas. We will be supported by a math specialist with leadership responsibilities in a coaches role. In addition, we will support students in their literacy development by utilizing a literacy specialist in a similar fashion to math specialist focusing on coaching teachers and leading our MTSS efforts described in the teaching and learning section.

As the second-grade cohort moves into third grade the cohort will need four teachers instead of five for the cohort. This is a result of applying our classroom size standards of 22-1 for grades kindergarten through two and 24-1 for grades three through twelve. Combined with the reduction of the district-wide instructional technology support position assigned to the FSS budget these adjustments will be budget neutral to the school district.

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MaryRowlandson ElementarySchool

For the students, staff, and families of Mary Rowlandson Elementary School, 2022-2023 was a year that marked the beginning of a return to normalcy following the pandemic. As the 2021-22 school year drew to a close, many of the protocols associated with COVID were retired. We were pleased to be able to welcome families back to MRE in the spring for various school events such as the third grade wax museum project and the fifth grade year end celebration. As the new school year began in the fall we were excited to see our 5th grade students make their first trip back to Nature’s Classroom since 2019. Our ability to hold community based events and provide opportunities for students to grow and connect with each other are critical to the mission of our school and we are looking forward to holding more events such as these in the coming months.

In support of our students’ continued academic growth and achievement we are constantly reflecting on our practices and looking for ways to improve. This year saw the adoption of a new math curriculum, Bridges in Mathematics, following a rigorous piloting and program selection process With the adoption of Bridges we are focusing our math instruction on the development of mathematical thinking skills through a combination of direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration As a result we are already seeing an increase in student math scores based on fall and winter formative assessments and look to build on that success as we transition into the spring trimester In English Language Arts, we continue to focus on critical foundational reading skills in grades K-2 with our Fundations curriculum. In addition, through Reading Workshop, students at all grade levels are developing their reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. This work is complimented through the Writing Workshop, where students are taught specific strategies to help them express their ideas and share their voices in a variety of genres. The redefining of a literacy specialist and math special to be learning coaches and leaders of MTSS approaches described in the teaching and learning section. Will go a long way in lifting our work in literacy and math.


MaryRowlandson ElementarySchool

MRE is reducing positions at kindergarten, first grade an 2023-2024 school year. In practice, a kindergarten and fo were not filled during the 2022-2023 school year du enrollment. This year, those positions have been remove as we do not anticipate an increase in enrollment in tho would warrant the position. As a result, the net change in the 2023-2024 school year is a reduction of three certifie support position. In practice, the only reduction is the since the other positions were never filled in 2022-2023.


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MaryRowlandson ElementarySchool



The Center School is honored to be the place where the children of Stow begin their formal educational journey. We take pride in the welcoming environment that awaits all students as they join The Center School community. At The Center School, families can join with exceptional educators to ensure that all students succeed.

The Center School has also seen important changes in curriculum and assessment. Bridges, a new district-wide math program, is in its first full year of implementation. Students are engaged in a workshop-style math model where inquiry-based learning results in a deep understanding of number sense. In addition, new benchmarking tools have been utilized this year. Star Assessments for reading and English language arts are adding to our teachers’ data profiles on each student The Star Assessments identify areas of need, skill progression, and student growth These assessments have added an important element to our ability to meet the needs of all students Like the other elementary and middle schools, we will have a literacy specialist and math specialist lead our MTSS work as literacy and math coaches. Their leadership will ensure we are gaining momentum in our instructional practice to accelerate learning coming out of remote and hybrid learning. The net change in certified staff at Center School will be 0.3 positions with one instructional aid being shifted into the special education budget.

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System-Wide,Insurance &Benefits,and Substitutes

The NRSD System-Wide Operating costs center mainly around the administrative work of the district. This includes Central Office salaries, legal, debt service, etc. The costs for School-Choice Tuition Out and Charter School Tuitions are paid through this account. For the FY24 budget, the increase to the System-Wide account is 0.08% over the previous budget. For FY24, the district received positive news that the increase to health insurance rates is under 3% and there will be a decrease to rates on dental insurance. The district participates in an insurance trust which will directly support our ability to minimize cost increases in FY24. Within the district, we employ day-to-day substitutes and also need to hire long-term substitutes for extended absences. The FY24 budget for Substitutes was built using previous methodologies.


System-Wide,Insurance &Benefits,and Substitutes


System-Wide,Insurance &Benefits,and Substitutes


s t e mW i d e, I n s u r a n c e & B e n e f i ts, a n d S u b s t i t u t e s

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The Department of Teaching and Learning is committed to leading, supporting, and inspiring our Nashoba educators with clear and forward-thinking curriculum development, purposeful assessment methodology, innovative instructional practices, and high-quality professional development. The Department values the important role it holds in leading 21st-century learning within the Nashoba learning community and takes great pride in working diligently and strategically to ensure that the initiatives outlined in our NRSD Strategic Plan are actualized and implemented with intentionality and shared ownership.

The Department of Teaching and Learning will continue to lead several academic initiatives in FY24. An audit of all Nashoba curricula, K-12, has been conducted for the purpose of analyzing current curriculum documents and instructional resources to ensure alignment and academic rigor across the district. The result of this audit has led to the updating of the majority of the District’s current core curricular review processes and curriculum mapping documents, as well as the creation of a Vision for Learning aligned with the District’s Strategic Plan and Portrait of a Nashoba Graduate competencies. Curriculum maps have been updated to reflect the intentional integration f t f l d l t i C tl t h t th iddl and high school levels are working within departm d document grade level and content core curriculum ted on the district website.



At the elementary level, academic initiatives have focused on the implementation of high-quality mathematics curriculum, Bridges in Mathematics, in all classrooms, grades K-5. Bridges was selected using the IMplement MA Guide, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (DESE) high-quality instructional materials adoption process. Implementation efforts have been designed to address multiple facets of implementation, including professional development for teachers and administrators, the development of a Bridges Success Team, instructional coaching in the classroom, and the creation of a Teacher Landing Page with quick links, pacing guides, and helpful resources unit by unit.

High-quality assessment is as important as high-quality curriculum and instruction. Building from the assessment pilot completed last year in our Lancaster schools, this year, a new assessment platform and universal screening tool, Star Assessments from Renaissance Learning, has been implemented in all schools, K-8 (Reading) and K-9 (mathematics) to complement and strengthen our understanding of student learning needs. Star Assessments allow our teachers the ability to quickly and accurately assess student progress, prioritize student needs, and plan for targeted instruction. The use of universal screeners for early identification, along with targeted instructional planning and progressing monitoring, is a proactive and responsive approach to supporting student learning and growth over time. We look forward to the continued benefits of this new assessment tool within our district assessment portfolio.

From curriculum and instruction to assessment, our Nashoba educators work tirelessly to meet the varied needs of our students. Professional development in support of these continual efforts is a priority. This year, Nashoba educators have engaged in professional development to support and strengthen instructional planning and pedagogy through the principles of Universal Design for Learning and the integration of social-emotional learning within lessons and across school settings Our March full day of professional learning, Elevating Voice, Embracing Equity, provided Nashoba educators with an opportunity to learn from colleagues and outside presenters on topics ranging from centering equity and social justice to safe and inclusive learning environments This year, we look ahead to building upon this foundation of learning with a robust day of learning in support of our NRSD Strategic Plan and vision for learning for the future focused on our Portrait of a Nashoba Graduate

As we step forward, the Department of Teaching and Learning remains fully committed to supporting our district-wide efforts in providing rigorous, innovative, and clearly aligned curricula that inspire, engage, and challenge every student such that all students realize their unique potential and become active contributors to their community.



54 T e a c
n g a n d L e a r n i n g


The Nashoba Regional School District provides rich educational programming and services to support the elements of the IEPs of students in need of special education from the ages of three through twenty-one. The district ensures th a continuum of services and alternative placements are available to meet t needs of all students with disabilities. Our faculty and staff are committed working arduously to ensure that all students receive high quality instructi using a variety of tools and resources to ensure students meet high standards

The Office of Pupil Personnel is committed to providing a variety of profession development opportunities that align with our strategic plan and offers faculty and staff with learning opportunities that will foster improve professional practice with our students. This year faculty and staff membe participated in a year-long series to support social emotional learning. O strategic plan indicates that one of our priorities is to integrate social-emotion learning best practices into daily instruction and student life A sampling these opportunities included Calm, Compassionate Teaching, with Dr La Epstein; Restorative Practices and Grounding Techniques with Dr Deni Howle implementing evidence based practices through the Pyramid Model Preschools with DESE Marlene Robbins; and Narrating Positive Expectatio Dr. Ann Filer. In addition, we also prioritized curriculum work with teachers a related service providers. This aligns with our goal to improve and impleme clearly aligned and articulated curricula, equitable innovative instructional a assessment practices, and shared leadership. These professional opportunit took a variety of shapes and were facilitated by The New England Center Children and our related service providers, which includes Speech Patholog Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists and TEAM Chairs and our Board Certified Behavioral Analysts.



57 S p e c i a l E d u c a t i o n


Nashoba’s Health and Wellness team utilizes evidence-based practices to promote individual and population-based student health, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and advance academic success. We are leaders who bridge health care, education, and collaborate to help create healthy communities.

The Department of Health and Wellness will continue to lead and improve initiatives to promote, sustain and enhance health, wellness and safety for our students and community in FY24. An evaluation of our current AED equipment was conducted and the result is several devices will need to be upgraded across the district for compliance with regulations. Zoll AED will replace the current Cardiac Science models that are no longer serviceable.

Security and safety audits continue each year and the need for a visitor management system was identified. A visitor management system empowers schools to streamline and control the visitor sign-in process while maintaining a high level of security The system screens and tracks all visitors in real-time

ALICE (Alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) was a training program used for all staff in the past and since post-pandemic it is appropriate to reinstate the training for all ALICE blended learning is an on-demand e-learning curriculum that lays a foundation for the ALICE training with a trauma-informed approach in age-and-ability ways. Accessible to everyone in the district keeping individuals prepared and safe with role-specific modules and robust resources that can be accessed throughout the year.



60 H e a l t h a n d W e l l n e s s


The Extended Learning Program (ELP) continues to focus on its goal of creating a safe space for students to explore their interests, meet new friends, and learn to express themselves. After spending much of the 2021/2022 school year focused on rebuilding social emotional learning practices, the Extended Learning Program entered the 2022/2023 school year with the proper foundation to further increase enrichment offerings.

During Fall 2022, enrichment programming included: Buildwave (formerly ImagArena), a building workshop that simulates a real life video game, and Drama Out of the Box, an improv drama class. These sessions, which were run at all four Extended Learning Program sites, came to a close at the beginning of December 2022.

An Enrichment Interest Survey was administered to all Extended Learning families in early January 2023 in order to pinpoint areas of interest. Results from the survey indicated an elevated interest in art, engineering/STEAM, drama, and sports-based programming Results from the Enrichment Interest Survey were used as The Extended Learning Program built its internal and external Winter and Spring 2023 enrichment programming

Winter 2023 enrichment offerings included: Chess Wizards, Marcus Lewis Tennis Lessons, Art-Ventures: Penguins & Polar Bears, and Fun World Language French Lessons. Upcoming Spring 2023 enrichment programming includes: Fun World Language Spanish Lessons and Mad Science: Space & Beyond.



The Technology Department is committed to provide undivided support to help the district to achieve initiatives outlined in the NRSD Strategic Plan.

Our goal is to ensure that every student has access to the appropriate technologies based on his/her educational needs. In elementary schools, iPads are deployed in Grades PreK-2. Each classroom is equipped with six iPads, a 30 units iPad cart can be shared when additional equipment is needed. 1-1 Chromebooks are deployed in all Grades 3-5 classrooms. Each elementary school is also equipped with a computer lab.

In Middle schools and High School, all students are issued Chromebooks and can take them home overnight. All students are assigned an NRSD email account and encouraged to use Google Suite to improve learning efficiencies. Advanced and specialized programs such as Graphics Design and Computer Aided Design are offered in computer labs to facilitate further learning.

The Chromebook 1-1 program provides a great opportunity for students to learn anytime, anywhere. To deliver a successful program, we continue to monitor and upgrade the network infrastructure in all buildings. We have worked diligently to ensure that all our equipment is up-to-date and fully functional. By taking full advantage of tools like Google Admin Console, Jamf Pro Management Suite and Symantec Ghost suite, the Technology department has gained significant efficiencies in supporting daily teaching and learning activities, managing individual apps, extensions and add-ons, and providing personalized content for individual teachers and classes

Safety is always a top priority for us For online activities, we have adopted and continued to update the Lightspeed web content filtering system to safeguard appropriate access. The Lightspeed system provides both in-school and at-home filtering for all 1-1 student Chromebooks and district assigned laptops. As cybersecurity threats become more pervasive and severe each day, the Technology department has also made great efforts to set up mandatory cybersecurity training for all teachers and administrators. For physical safety, we continue to add security cameras in critical locations to help improve the security measurements across the District.



64 T e c h n o l o g y


The Facilities Department is dedicated to improving and sustaining physical environments that promote healthy and vibrant learning conditions in all buildings. We are committed to maintaining each school with best practices, energy efficiencies, and customer service.

Over the past year we completed projects across the district that were funded as part of capital requests and also budget-based projects. The carpeting in the first-floor classrooms at Florence Sawyer was replaced with VCT tiles. The 5000-gallon heating fuel tank was removed at Florence Sawyer A new dishwasher was installed in the kitchen at Mary Rowlandson. A small flooring project was completed at Luther Burbank. Working in partnership with the town of Stow Department of Public works, Hartley Road was widened to accommodate a parent drop off and pick up lane for the Center School.

We continue to find ways to reduce the rising cost of energy with bidding through a consortium that includes many other school districts leveraging better fuel costs. Multiple grants were applied and granted this past year that will replace water fountains with bottle-filling stations reducing the amount of plastics being used on a daily basis. A safety grant was awarded to upgrade the fleet of ladders in the district reducing the risk of injury from older ladders. We continue to work with state agencies to stay in compliance with all state mandates We work closely with the member towns and their respective departments to ensure that our schools are a friendly and safe environment for students, staff, and community members



67 F a c i l i t i e s


The Nashoba Wolves’ athletic programs had a great year! Over 250 student-athletes participated each season across twenty-two different sports and fifty teams. Our student-athletes excelled on the playing surface and in the classroom, with over seventy-two percent of student-athletes named to the honor roll.

Some highlights from the winter season include our boys’ and girls’ basketball teams playing at the TD Garden. The boys’ hockey team won the CMass Class A Championship, and the girls’ co-op hockey team won the MIAA D2 State Championship. Dillan Lowe was selected as our conference’s MIAA/Boston Bruins Sportsmanship award winner Our wrestling team had two state champions - Lucian Perla and Josh Cordio Cordio was also the MIAA All-State Champion and Outstanding Wrestler The boys’ indoor track team won the MIAA D3 State Championship, and Freddy Collins was the MIAA All-State Champion in the mile

The success continued in the spring, with the track teams winning the league championship on our home track! The boys’ lacrosse team won the CMass Class A Championship in a thrilling overtime win over perennial powerhouse Algonquin before bowing out of the statewide tournament in the Round of 16. The softball team joined with St. Paul to raise money for Autism Awareness. Connor Salmon represented NRHS in the CMass Football All-star game played in June.



The fall season was exciting, with the field hockey team winning the MIAA D2 Final Four trophy and making it to the state championship game for the second consecutive year! The team lost to Longmeadow, 2-1, in the finals but had a fantastic season overall. Adam Balewicz won the MIAA D2 State Cross Country qualifying meet and set a new home course record. In addition, Nashoba was named the MIAA District 3 Sportsmanship Award winner at a ceremony at Gillette Stadium

Nashoba had numerous individual honors throughout the year as well The Telegram & Gazette selects a “Super Team” and honors student-athletes across Central Mass The following student-athletes were recognized as Players of the Year: Freddy Collins (Indoor Track), Josh Cordio (Wrestling), Ella Varnerin (Alpine Ski), Brayden MacLean (Boys’ Lacrosse), and Abbie Zacchini (Field Hockey). Grace Glover and Reuben Nyasani won the 2022 MIAA Multimedia Sportsmanship contest. In addition, the Director of Athletics, Tania Rich, was recognized by the Massachusetts Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association as the State NFHS Citation Award winner. Also, Matt Biggs was honored as the MIAA Boys’ Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

Overall, Nashoba’s sports team had an amazing year! Over ninety percent of our varsity teams qualified for the statewide tournament, won nine league titles, one state finalist, and two state championships! Our programs continue to be highly competitive and school spirit has increased since our COVID-19 guidelines were lifted.





Appropriation – An authorization granted by a town meeting, city council or other legislative body to expend money and incur obligations for specific public purposes. An appropriation is usually limited in amount and as to the time period within which it may be expended.

Chapter 70 – The Chapter 70 program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools. In addition to providing state aid to support school operations, it also establishes minimum spending requirements for each school district and minimum requirements for each municipality’s share of school costs.

Circuit Breaker – Special Education, Out of District placement relief from the state. Funds are received in year one and must be expended in the following year. All the previous year ’ s funds must be expended.

D.E.S.E. – The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) oversees local school districts, which, in turn, oversee schools. Policies made by DESE will affect every Massachusetts district and their various schools across the state.

Debt Service - The repayment cost, usually stated in annual terms and based on the amortization schedule, of the principal and interest on any particular bond issue.

Deficit – The excess of expenditures over revenues during an accounting period Also refers to the excess of the liabilities of a fund over its assets

E & D – Excess and Deficiency (also called the “surplus revenue ” account), the E & D is the amount by which cash, accounts receivable, and other assets exceed a regional school district’s liabilities and reserves as certified by the Director of Accounts The calculation is based on a year-end balance sheet, which is submitted to DOR by the district’s auditor, accountant, or comptroller as of June 30.

E-Rate – E-Rate is the commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program if the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The program provides discounts to assist schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. It is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunication services.


Encumbrance – A reservation of funds to cover obligations arising from purchase orders, contracts, or salary commitments that is chargeable to, but not yet paid from, a specific appropriation account.

Expenditure – An outlay of money made to provide the programs and services within the approved budget.

Feasibility Study - A robust and comprehensive assessment of all school facilities and grounds that provides the the owner (Town/District) with practical and viable information regarding a potential building project. During the Feasibility Study, the District and its team collaborate with the MSBA.

Fiscal Year (FY) – Since 1974, the Commonwealth, municipalities, and school districts operate on a budget cycle that begins July 1 and ends June 30. The designation of the fiscal year is that of the calendar year in which the fiscal year ends.

Fixed Assessment – Nashoba Regional School District has a two part method of calculating assessments. NRSD uses the prior year ’ s Minimim Local Contribution (see Minimum Local Contribution) as the fixed component of the assessment. This is the minimum amount that cities and towns must contribute to their school districts. The prior year numbers are used for the budgeting year are not final.

Fixed Assets – Long-lived, tangible assets such as buildings, equipment and land obtained or controlled as a result of past transactions or circumstances

Fixed Costs – Costs that are legally or contractually mandated such as retirement, FICA/Social Security, insurance, debt service costs or interest on loans

Foundation Budget – The spending target imposed by the Education Reform Act of 1993 for each school district as the level necessary to provide an adequate education for all students.


GASB 45 – This is the Governmental Accounting Standards Board major pronouncement that each public entity account for and report other postemployment benefits in its accounting statements. Through actuarial analysis, municipalities must identify the true costs of the OPEB earned by employees over their estimated years of actual service.

General Fund – The fund used to account for most financial resources and activities governed by the district

House 1 or 1A – Designation given to the Governor's annual budget request, which is sub-mitted to the House of Representatives by the fourth Wednesday of January. Except that a newly elected governor has eight weeks from the day he/she takes office to submit a budget. The budget is designated House 1 in the first year of the two year legislative session and House 1A in the second year.

IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. National federal education law that ensures that schools provide special education services for students in need.

Integrated Preschool – Provides a rich developmentally appropriate environment for 3 to 5 year old children with and without disabilities. The curriculum is designed to meet the Massachusetts State Standards while supporting the needs of our unique learners and readiness for kindergarten.

Line-Item Budget – A budget that separates spending into categories, or greater detail, such as supplies, equipment, maintenance, or salaries, as opposed to a program budget

Local Aid – Revenue allocated by the Commonwealth to cities, towns, and regional school districts Estimates of local aid are transmitted to cities, towns, and districts annually by the "Cherry Sheets." Most Cherry Sheet aid programs are considered general fund revenues and may be spent for any purpose, subject to appropriation.

MASC – Massachusetts Association of School Committees – the MASC Policy service is an invaluable resource to school committees as they develop guidelines that will help them and the staff in the decision making process. MASC is committed to providing reliable information and assistance in policy support services.


MGL – Massachusetts General Law – General Laws are Session Laws or sections of Session Laws that are permanent in nature and of general application. General Laws are codified according to subject matter in a multi-volume publication entitled the General Laws of Massachusetts. The official version of the General Laws is now published every two years, with cumulative pamphlets released periodically.

Minimum Local Contribution – (State required contribution) The minimum amount that cities and towns must contribute to their school districts This is also referred to as the “H1” or “House 1” numbers The minimum local contribution is part the calculation involving the localities ability to contribute This varies widely based upon the incomes and property values of different cities and towns The state expects that each municipality can contribute the same share of local resources to the foundation budget by setting uniform contribution rates.

MV (McKinney Vento) Homeless Assistance Act – Federal mandate: Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other students and youth.

Net School Spending (NSS) – School budget and municipal budget amounts attributable to education, excluding long-term debt service, student transportation, school lunches and certain other specified school expenditures. A community’s NSS funding must equal or exceed the NSS Requirement established annually by the Department of Education (DOE). (See Education Reform Act of 1993)

Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) - Employees of state and local governments may be compensated in a variety of forms in exchange for their services. In addition to a salary, many employees earn benefits over their years of service that will not be received until after their employment with the government ends. The most common type of these postemployment benefits is a pension. Postemployment benefits other than pensions generally take the form of health insurance and dental, vision, prescription, or other healthcare benefits provided to eligible retirees, including in some cases their beneficiaries. They may also include some type of life insurance. As a group, these are referred to as OPEB.

MSBA - Massachusetts School Building Authority

Revolving Fund – Allows a community to raise revenues from a specific service and use those revenues without appropriation to support the service. For departmental revolving funds, MGL Ch. 44 §53E½ stipulates that each fund must be reauthorized each year at annual town meeting or by city council action, and that a limit on the total amount that may be spent from each fund must be established at that time. The aggregate of all revolving funds may not exceed ten percent of the amount raised by taxation by the city or town in the most recent fiscal year, and no more than one percent of the amount raised by taxation may be administered by a single fund. Wages or salaries for full-time employees may be paid from the revolving fund only if the fund is also charged for all associated fringe benefits.

Special Revenue Fund – Funds, established by statute only, containing revenues that are earmarked for and restricted to expenditures for specific purposes. Special revenue funds include receipts reserved for appropriation, revolving funds, grants from governmental entities, and gifts from private individuals or organizations.

TITLE I – Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to districts and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.

Title IIA (Also known as Teacher Quality) – The purpose of Title IIA is to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality This includes teacher preparation and qualifications of new teachers, recruitment and hiring, induction, professional development, and retention In addition, Title IIA funds may be used to improve the skills and knowledge of principals for effective school leadership

Tuitions & Transportation Revolving – Funds received during any given school year from other public schools in Massachusetts who are sharing Special Education transportation costs or if we are receiving tuition for a student attending our district.

Unfunded Mandate – A requirement imposed by law, regulation or order without underlying financial support, thereby resulting in direct or indirect costs to the body made responsible for its implementation.


User Charges/Fees – A municipal funding source where payment is collected from the user of a service to help defray the cost of providing the service.

Variable Assessment – Nashoba Regional School District uses a two part method of calculating assessments. Nashoba uses the five year rolling enrollment numbers for each town to calculate the variable portion of the total assessment.

Additional Terms - Massachusetts Municipal Finance Glossary




OtherPostEmployment Benefits(OPEB)Liability

Under the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statements Numbers 74 and 75, the Nashoba Regional School District receives a valuation of its OPEB Liability. The last valuation of this liability was on June 30, 2022 and the entire valuation report is posted to the district website. The June 30, 2022 NRSD valuation of net OPEB liability was down $8,871,628 from the previous annual valuation.

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