Middle School Budget ReflectsDownward Slide in Enrollment

LONDONDERRY – Londonderry Middle School Principal Richard Zacchilli outlined his building budget for FY 15 that reflects a downward trend in enrollment.

Zacchilli said the budget reflects a 4.2 percent or $8,137 decrease over the previous year.

“All of our building accounts have been level funded or have shown a decrease, due to a 77 student enrollment decline,” he said. “This proposal is based on an enrollment projection of 1,009 students, down from this year’s 1,086.”

He expects 328 sixth graders, 345 seventh graders and 336 eighth graders.

“The enrollment drop is due to the outgoing eighth grade class of 405 and the incoming sixth grade class of 328,” he told the School Board at its Tuesday, Jan. 7 meeting. “Over the past three years we have made personnel reductions at the middle school due to an enrollment decline and program changes. Staffing has been reduced in all areas, including special curriculum, classroom teachers, clerical, and administration. This year we have 10 teaching teams and 1,086 students. For the 2014-2015 school year, we will have nine teaching teams and 1,009 students, with three teams at each grade level.”

Zacchilli noted concern with several housing/condominium developments and their potential enrollment impact on the middle school in the near future.

“However, with the loss of a teaching team, I am recommending the following personnel reductions for FY 15: reducing an English and Social Studies teacher at the eighth grade level, a .5 foreign language teacher, a .4 physical education teacher and a .5 music teacher,” he said. “These reductions anticipate the enrollment and team drop in the eighth grade. We will maintain an additional math and science teacher to reduce class sizes, to meet the individual needs of our students, and to allow for enhanced instruction to include both advanced and remedial opportunities.”

Zacchilli said that they will continue to use email for parent communication, the parent portal on the website for quarterly progress reports, and increased emphasis on the principal’s web page.

“We’ve worked hard to reduce our major mailings throughout the year, and we only print our program of studies for incoming sixth grade students,” he added. “The recycling program includes the collection of paper, bottles, and milk cartons, and our recycling club continues to work with the town to expand the program.”

He added, “For FY 15, we will continue to support the school district’s goal: All graduating students will demonstrate college and/ or career readiness based on expanded definitions of rigorous content, adaptive skills and critical dispositions by 2017. Our school goals of writing across the content areas, mathematics problem solving and reasoning skills, and a focus on inquiry in the area of science, support the goals of the school district.”

Board member John Laferriere asked whether the middle school would be prepared for an unexpected increase in enrollment. Zacchilli said that it would be prepared, as the budget retains the math and science teacher.

“If we get 20 to 25 students in a particular grade level, the science teacher would go directly to that grade level to support that, and we would have two super teams, depending on the grade level,” Zacchilli said.

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