By Alex Malm
The School Board held a budget workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 7, where they heard from some a number of department heads regarding next year’s proposed budget.
Presenting the staffing and personnel budget line was Assistant Superintendent Dan Black.
“This is the biggest part of the budget,” said Black.
Black said that when they make decisions including staffing it’s based on the mission of the school district and having the right personnel needed to accomplish it.
“We are a school district with a focus on having our students be college and career ready,” he said. “Even with COVID we do an excellent job getting our students there.”
When it comes to staffing one of the things that they look at is enrollment. Black explained that this year they made projections on enrollment based on moving their current students up one grade level. For Moose Hill they based the projection based on the historical average of how many students are enrolled which he said has been consistent.
“These are the enrollments that start to drive some of our decisions,” he said.
After looking at the projected enrollment numbers, and at their current staffing numbers, Black said that they are proposing to reduce three teacher positions at the elementary school level.
He said that the decision was driven by fiscal responsibility more than anything else.
Black said that the decision to propose cutting three teachers for next year was “definitely the hardest decision we made I think in this year’s budget on the add swap sheet.”
Later on in the meeting Londonderry Business Administrator Peter Curro said that the current budget for salaries across the District is $42,197,222 for the entire District. The proposed budget for salaries is $42,208,718, and the default budget would be $42,098,941 for salaries.
He explained that in the proposed budget it includes the proposed increases for Administration and non-affiliated employees. The default budget only shows the contractual obligations before the process starts and those contracts aren’t finalized for next year.
For the athletic department, Londonderry Athletic Director Howard Sobolov said that the proposed athletic budget is based on the needs and fixed costs of running athletics in the Londonderry School District.
“This year I’m requesting a budget of $410,940,” he said.
He said that they currently have 81 teams with 108 coaches, and typically have 600 to 700 students who participate on a daily basis. He said that despite the District having a decline in enrollment they have had a steady amount of participation in athletics.
One of the major requests they are looking at as a department is having two full-time athletic trainers. Currently they have one full-time trainer and one part-time trainer.
It was explained by Sobolov that right now the part-time trainer is working full-time hours. He thinks that they should be compensated for the full-time work they are doing.
The total increase would be $53,865 if they move the part-time position to full-time and they take the School District’s benefits.
One question asked if it would make more financial sense to have someone contracted to come in during the busy season instead of moving the part-time position to full-time all year round.
“Can you do that, yes,” Sobolov said but then explained that if they did so they would lose services which is why he isn’t recommending that approach.
School Board member Bob Slater who was involved in athletics for Londonderry for 18 years asked if they are limiting themselves by moving the position to full-time rather than going with an extra part-time position to help offset the coverage.
Sobolov said that they haven’t looked at that. He said that right now they are able to cover everything but the problem is that the part-time trainer isn’t getting paid full-time even though they work full-time hours.
Londonderry School Board Vice Chair Sara Loughlin said that she works in a school district that contracts out for athletic trainers and sees the difference.
The next Londonderry School Board meeting is slated to take place on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.