Friday, January 12, 2018

Budget Plan for the 2018-19 School Year

In December I submitted a 2018-19 (FY19) Budget request to the School Committee for their review and consideration. 

This budget proposal outlines the resources the schools need next year 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.  Key budget documents and a presentation to the School Committee can be found here: FY19 Needham Public Schools Budget Proposal

The FY19 budget plan was developed to address contracted salary increases, growing special education costs, expanded student enrollment, and targeted program improvements. 
Several key budget “drivers” are impacting the proposed FY19 budget plan.  Among them:

•  Contractual Salary Increases.  Negotiated contracts for all existing employees account for $1.8 million, over 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 school leaders. 

•  Enrollment, Class Size, Program support.  While overall enrollment is projected to increase only slightly next year, there remains a need to ensure that class sizes stay within acceptable School Committee policy guidelines.  I propose a net increase of 8.75 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) teachers at the elementary and secondary levels to keep class sizes steady and provide for special education programming and support. I also propose 2.37 net new FTE paraprofessionals and administrative support staff to ensure student needs are addressed and to provide ongoing support and training for the professional staff.

  Increased Special Education and Student Support Service Costs.  Increases in the number of special education students being served, special education tuition, and other mandated costs amount to $414,820 of the new funds requested.

  Targeted Program Improvements.  The FY19 budget plan includes $516,517 for targeted program improvements.  Most of these funds - $350,000 - are proposed to be held in reserve by the Town for Full-Day Kindergarten, which is planned to be implemented in the 2019/20 School Year.   Other improvements include $65,700 to add an additional bus to reduce the number of students on the wait list for transportation and help with overcrowding on the buses.  Additionally, I am proposing resources to ensure our English Language Learners receive additional instruction at the elementary level.

This preliminary budget plan has been carefully considered and reflects the School Committee and community’s high expectations for its young people.  Please share your thoughts and ideas about the budget plan by contacting the School Committee at or by attending the upcoming budget hearing at Broadmeadow scheduled on January 16, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. 

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