The FY16 (School year 2015-16) budget proposal outlines the resources the schools need to support an excellent educational program for our students, one that is consistent with the District’s core values of Scholarship, Citizenship, Community, and Personal Growth. The proposed budget requests an additional 5.4% funding increase, although most of this increase is to provide for a similar level of service. In fact, about 90% of the total request proposes the same level of service next school year as we have now.
District administrators developed the FY16 budget plan to meet contractual obligations, growing special education costs, and expanded student enrollment, particularly at the secondary level. Increased funds for Prek-12 special education and high school staff are requested as part of this plan, as well as resources to support curriculum initiatives and technology implementation throughout the District.
• Contractual Salary Increases Negotiated contracts for all employees account for $1.3 million, or less than half of the total requested increase.
• Increased Special Education Costs Increases in the number of special education students moving into Needham, special education tuition and transportation, the addition of a new group home in the Town of Needham, and the expansion of the Preschool program account for another $1.3 million, or 43% of the $3 million new funds requested.
• High School Enrollment The high school is projected to grow by 50 students in the FY16 school year. A modest proposal to increase staffing by 2.4 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) teachers in foreign language, math, social studies, and the arts is included.
• Curriculum and Technology. A modest increase in funding is requested for the continued development of middle school curriculum leadership, math programing, technology management, software and website upgrades and licenses, and the continued implementation of the middle school Personalized Learning Initiative are proposed and represent about $300,000, or 10%, of the total budget request.
The administration also reallocated existing funds as much as possible and practical to support this budget proposal. Where possible, we have moved existing resources around to meet new challenges, and some administrative responsibilities will be increased to address a growing list of state and federal mandates. Unfortunately, many important and worthwhile proposals suggested by principals and administrators—all designed to enhance and strengthen student learning—have been deferred to the future.
I believe the budget proposal is prudent and carefully considered, but it will be a challenge to secure all the resources required to move school programs forward, especially as the Schools and Town balance a variety of important needs. You may view the plan and additional information about the budget on our website: FY16 Proposed Budget Plan
The School Committee is extremely interested to hear feedback about the budget plan, and they encourage you to attend the upcoming Budget Hearing scheduled at 7:00 p.m. for Tuesday, January 20th at Broadmeadow to learn more about the plan and voice your ideas, questions, concerns, and comments.