The approval of the state budget did not come until after the start of the new budget year, but for Watertown officials the wait was worth it - worth more than $700,000, in fact.
The fiscal 2012 budget signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday includes an increase of Special Education Circuit Breaker funds – which could be as high as $500,000 – and $156,000 added to the Chapter 90 roads funds, State Rep. Jonathan Hecht told the Town Council Tuesday.
“The Special Education Circuit Breaker is a concern for all communities, particularly Watertown because of the large special education population,” Hecht said.
The House proposal was to increase the circuit breaker funds by more than $80 million, while the Senate proposal called for a $61 million increase. The final budget went with the House’s number.
Hecht thanked recently-elected state Rep. John Lawn, who still sits on the Town Council, and state Sen. Steven Tolman for helping to preserve the funds for Watertown.
Also preserved in the budget is the full-day kindergarten grant, which provides $97,000 for Watertown to offer the full-day option to all students.
“I know how important it is to keep full-day kindergarten accessible to everyone,” Hecht said. “If (the grant) didn’t come through, it is possible that the School Department would have to charge for full-day kindergarten.”
The increase in Chapter 90 funds will help the town repair roads after the harsh winter, Hecht said.
Watertown did lose some state funds including the $35,000 it received last year from the Quinn Bill – which provides funds for police education.
The Watertown Free Public Library’s funding was held level while funds for the Council on Aging increased slightly, Hecht said.