School Committee Preliminary Budget Now Posted, and Town Budget Presentation on Tuesday
On January 28th, the School Committee held a Public Hearing, followed by a Working Session to create the “School Committee Preliminary Budget”. During the Public Hearing portion of the meeting, parents stated their concerns about large class sizes in the elementary grades, and potential cuts to the sports and music programs. In the Working Session, the School Committee considered these concerns, and others, as they reviewed the Superintendent’s two budget scenarios and created a new “School Committee Preliminary Budget” which was submitted to the Town Manager last week. You may read the summary online at:
The School Committee’s budget starts with the Superintendent’s Budget, then eliminates several items, and adds two items. The total reflects a reduction of $638,570 from the Superintendent’s Budget and represents a 0.5% increase from last year’s school budget. This chart is taken directly from their budget document:
|Budget Area Amount|
|Reduction in the salary reserve account – $212,158|
|Reduction in 2.2 special education teachers/therapists – $151,314|
|Additional use of year-end balances – $93,440|
|Additional revenue offset from full-day kindergarten – $75,000|
|Reduction of 6 copiers from the districts copier replacement cycle – $66,000|
|Reduction of 2.7 pre-kindergarten teaching assistants – $63,542|
|Savings from recent teacher retirements – $39,843|
|Reduction in special education tuitions to reflect new state rates – $23,990|
|Elimination of late busses – $22,992|
|Other expense budget adjustments – $18,731|
|Addition of 4 remedial math tutors + $93,440|
|Reinstatement of 4 freshmen athletic teams + $35,000|
Variables in the Budget:
Teacher Salaries: The School committee and administration are just beginning negotiation with the teacher’s union. Last year teachers got a 3% raise (previously negotiated in a 3-year contract) while non-union school and town employees got a 1.5% raise. No agreement has been reached as of yet.
Fees: The other variable is fees to parents (bus, parking, athletics, clubs, etc.). This is only a preliminary budget, so the school committee has the option to consider adding or increasing fees next year, which would reduce the amount needed from the town budget.
If you have a question or comment regarding teacher salaries or fees to parents, you should feel free to contact the School Committee at any time.
State Aid: The state is also beginning its budget process, so the amount of local aid, chapter 70 monies, and Circuit Breaker Special Education Reimbursements from the state are all still in flux.
Hopkinton Proposition 2 1/2% taxes: The Selectmen have not yet made a determination of what portion, if any, of the allowable 2 1/2% increase to local taxes will be levied next year.
Nancy Burdick: email@example.com
Rebecca Robak: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Demont: email@example.com
Jean Bertschmann: firstname.lastname@example.org
Troy Mick: email@example.com
The Next Steps in the Budget Process
On Tuesday, February 9, Town Manager Norman Khumalo will present his recommended budget to a joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, and Appropriations Committee. The public comment period for this meeting begins at 6:30 pm. Residents may attend in person or watch on HCAM-TV (Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30). Residents should also feel free to contact the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager at any time with budget questions or concerns.
Board of Selectmen:
Brian Herr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Zettek: email@example.com
RJ Dourney: firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Cestari: email@example.com
Michele Gates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Norman Khumalo: email@example.com