Earlier this month I submitted the FY18 (School Year 2017-18) budget proposal to the Needham School Committee for their consideration. The budget presentation and documents may be found on the district's website: FY18 NPS Budget Proposal The budget plan is based on the district's values and goals, maintains existing services, and proposes funding for a few key program improvements.
The budget plan outlines an additional 5.57% funding increase over the
current fiscal year, although most of this increase is to provide for a
similar level of service as we have in classrooms and schools this year.
Several key budget “drivers” are impacting the proposed FY18 budget plan. Among them:
• Contractual Salary Increases
Contractual obligations for all existing employees account for $2.0
million, or less than half of the total requested increase. In order to
recruit, support, and retain a talented faculty and staff, we must
provide reasonable yet competitive salaries for our staff, teachers, and
• Enrollment and Class Size
While overall enrollment is projected to increase only slightly next
year, there remains a need to ensure class sizes stay within acceptable
School Committee policy guidelines. I will propose 10.12 Full Time
Equivalent (FTE) classroom teachers at the elementary, middle, and high
school levels to keep class sizes steady and make up for the loss of
grant funds. I also outlined the need for 13.87 new FTE for administrative and support staff, including several teacher assistants required to meet mandated student services.
• Increased Special Education Costs
Increases in the number and increasingly intensive needs of special education students being served,
special education tuition, transportation for special education
students, and other mandated costs total approximately $.81 million of
the new funds requested.
• Targeted Program
Improvements. Unlike the FY17 budget plan in which we were
unable to include any significant increases for program development, in FY18 I
propose $517,914 in new funding for teaching, learning, and infrastructure
improvements. Some of these
recommendations include: A Pollard math
intervention teacher ($60,820), increased interdisciplinary support ($19,043),
elementary and high school instructional technology teachers ($90,001), Science
Center staff ($21,751), administrative support at High Rock and in Human
Resources ($105,897), and upgraded technology supplies, software, and services
($76,177). Additionally, I propose an
increase to purchase Chromebooks ($20,000) for the incoming 9th
graders as the Personalized Learning Initiative moves into the high school. The budget plan also includes a
recommendation for increased funding for substitutes ($48,344) in order to fill
significant vacancies that exist.
possible, we have reallocated existing resources to meet new
challenges, including a growing list of state and federal mandates.
Unfortunately, many important and worthwhile proposals suggested by
school leaders—all designed to enhance and strengthen student
learning—have been deferred to the future.
the budget proposal is sensible and carefully considered, it will be a
challenge to secure all the resources required to maintain existing
programs, especially as the Schools and Town evaluate a variety of
important educational and municipal needs.
am mindful that the Town Manager, School Committee, Finance Committee,
or Town Meeting may have different priorities, so this plan remains a
work in progress throughout the winter and early spring. In other
words, based on available resources and in close collaboration with Town
boards, various line items in the proposal may be changed, increased,
or deferred for another time.
School Committee welcomes input and suggestions about the budget plan
and encourages parents and community members to email them with comments
at firstname.lastname@example.org and
attend or tune in to upcoming meetings. The School Committee will
study and discuss the budget proposal throughout December and January,
and they will hold a formal public hearing on the budget at Broadmeadow
on Tuesday, January 17th at 7:00 p.m. Please also refer to the
District’s website for additional information about the budget
proposal: FY18 NPS Budget Proposal