At Tuesday’s School Committee meeting, the recommended fiscal year 2015 budget was voted on and approved.
The operations budget request is $63,674,945, a $3,541,788 increase over fiscal year 2014. The fiscal year 2013 budget was $58,115,123. The budget recommendation was supported and approved by all school committee members.
The Town’s fiscal year 2015 budget guideline for the district was a 1.75 percent increase in salaries and level funding of expenses
“On the operating budget when we started to look at it, the bulk of it is level service,” said KC Kato. “I do think it is a sound budget.”
“This budget supports keeping our classes at guideline without redistricting,” added Patti Quigley.
The recommended capital budget is $823,858. This includes furniture fixtures and equipment as well as technology. All school committee members were in favor.
“The reality is that we cannot go forward as an institution unless we invest in them,” said Tere Ramos. “I fully support this.”
The benefits allocation of $640,000 for the fiscal year 2015 budget was also approved.
“This is our first budget really aligned to the strategic plan,” said superintendent David Lussier “Last year it was aligned to a more discreet set of goals. This year we have something far more robust and forward thinking into the future. And certainly this budget doesn’t reflect every aspect of the strategic plan, it’s a five year plan, but it certainly reflects the first round of investments to go forward in those four areas.”
Lussier noted that the budget would help with technology integration, maintaining a particular class size, investments and competetive salary for teachers, improving curriculum, operating costs and more.
“We have a high school that has gotten larger every single year,” Lussier said. “Moving to a three house system we know is going to allow for that continued personalization despite increasing enrollment.“Financially we know this is a lot to ask,” Lussier said. “We always have to be mindful of the education imperative that is the primary directive with the sense of fiscal stewardship and understanding what is appropriate and what is sustainable over time. We think the budget we brought forward is balancing both things very well.”