School Board Looks to Build Upon its Strengths in 2019

On Nov. 21, the school board presented the Superintendent’s report: the budget presentation. This meeting focused on the advancement of the proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2019. The main goals outlined by the school board were to work to maintain existing programs, build on successes, and adapt to changes in enrollment. The Superintendent’s report was presented by Scott Laliberte and Peter Curro.

The general fund budget that was being proposed was $73,473,218.00, an increase over fiscal year 2018 by $1,290,904.00. There were significant calculations that went into making this budget. It was also important to note there will be a decrease in the budget for the special education program, because of the decrease in student enrollment. These students will be in out of district placement. The decrease is in the amount of $412,806.00. This will also impact the transportation of special needs students in a decrease of $44,500.00. These were the biggest impacts of the overall budget for 2019.

The default budget as of this moment has been set at $72,903,347.00. If this proposed budget were to go through, it would be an increase over the proposed budget for FY 2018 by $721,033.00. The proposed budget as of Nov. 21 is $569,871.00 over default. There are still key elements of the budget that have yet to be discussed by the board, but will be determined in meetings going forward. The new proposed budget has made allowances for space needs that may arise and summer construction. The total for these areas is $400,950.00 between the proposed budget and the default budget. The remaining amount of $168,921.00 features changes in personnel depending on the enrollment status.

Members of the school board look to increase on the strengths of the district, which includes the better utilization of technology. The goal is to offer new and more learning experiences through electronic resources for both students and staff. Scott Laliberte also noted that student enrollment continues to fluctuate, which makes things difficult. Some of the increases in the budget have been unpredictable, but maintaining the ability to adapt to these issues in short notice has been a key objective for the board.

In terms of academic programs, the school board is continuing on with the Math and Focus program and hopes to add on both first and second grades to the program next year. The school board has also found there have been more teachers utilizing distance learning opportunities in professional learning. Normally, professional learning meant teachers would attend workshops while students would enjoy a day off. The school board has working to offer more learning opportunities for both the teaching and administrative staff that’s in the district or uses technology for remote learning. This budget for FY 2019 also maintains all current levels of co-curricular programs.

“Our district offers an outstanding learning environment as a result of the considerable support given by our community, and we will continue to look for ways to make it even better,” Laliberte said. Further discussions will continue on the FY 2019 budget on Thursday, Dec 7.

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