Monday, December 30, 2013

FY15 Budget Proposal: The resources required to meet student needs and provide innovative and creative learning opportunities

The Needham School Committee is reviewing a budget proposal for next school year (2014-15/FY15) that addresses growing enrollment at the secondary level, meets increased student needs, and offers innovative opportunities for teaching and learning. 

Based on the School Committee’s identified priorities, the budget proposal includes resources for teachers at the middle and high schools, as well as funds to support student activities, athletics, and technology implementation, including the integration of iPads beginning in the 6th grade for each student.  At the elementary level resources for curriculum programs and the funds needed to make up for Federal budget cuts to special education and Title I (literacy and math support) are also included.

Key highlights of the proposed budget:

  The FY15 budget plan represents a 5.24% increase of $2.8 million over the current fiscal year.
  Contractual salary costs account for about $1.5 million of the overall increase.
  The budget plan assumes elementary enrollment will decline slightly but secondary enrollment will increase with total PreK-12 enrollment growing from 5,586 to 5,595.
  Overall staffing is increased by a net of 20 staff members, including 16 teachers, most required for growing secondary enrollment and to meet special education and English Language Learner (ELL) needs.
  Targeted improvements in technology training, curriculum improvements, transportation, and student activities account for $736,000 of the budget plan.

In addition, the School Committee is considering a supplemental budget proposal of $1.8 million to provide for innovation, creativity, and extended learning in the Needham Schools.  These funds would provide the necessary resources to offer Needham’s students 21st Century learning opportunities that enrich each child’s education. The additional funds would:

  Introduce Spanish, Technology, the Arts, and expanded Health and Physical Education at the elementary level in grades 1 to 5 for all students and Music in Kindergarten.
  Provide an additional 75 hours or three weeks elementary instruction; an additional week or 30 hours of instruction at High Rock and Pollard.
  Ensure teachers and administrators have additional time to create dynamic and innovative learning experiences and collaborate to improve student growth, success, and achievement.

The supplemental budget request ensures Needham’s students have the resources and tools they need to learn, grow, create, and compete in an increasingly complex and interconnected global community—one that requires enhanced learning experiences and skill development in foreign language, technology, the arts, and health and wellness. 

The preliminary budget has been thoughtfully considered and is consistent with the School Committee and community’s high expectations for its young people.  The plan addresses growing middle and high school enrollment, meets the increasing demands of State and Federal governments, and strengthens teaching and learning. 

The School Committee invites the community to provide feedback about the budget at the FY15 Budget Public Hearing scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2013 at Broadmeadow.  You can also email comments to: 

For more information about the FY15 Budget Proposal, please visit the Needham Public Schools website: FY15 NPS Proposed Budget Information 

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