School Budgets Adopted by Committee
Superintendent lists enrollment increases, but budget stays within FinCom limits.
Editor's Note: This story is part of a nationwide Patch series probing the economy's effect on local schools.
Calling it "another challenging fiscal environment," Rigby cited the $2 billion state budget gap, reductions in state aid and circuit breaker reimbursement for special education and no more federal stimulus money.
Concord received so-called stim money last year plus a further injection of state funds for teachers in the fall, but that aid has dried up.
The School Committee adopted the FY12 budgets for CPS and CCHS, while enrollment has increased and the schools have to pay for more of the retired teachers' health care.
"Health care costs are expected to increase up to 15 percent," said Rigby in a message to the community. The health costs for retirees in the town or school departments are going up, Rigby said.
Another spike for the high school is the portion of Concord students at the regional high school is going up, meaning Concord pays more of the budget.
Elementary school enrollment has increased by 71 students and will require increased funding for the additional staffing in the operational budget, Rigby said. Preschool and middle school special education enrollment has also increased and will require additional staffing.
The proposed FY12 Concord Public School (K-8) budget is $28,474,200 or 2.8 percent higher than FY11. For CCHS, we are proposing a minimal restoration of the FY10 and FY11 reductions by increasing the .5 Technology Specialist to fulltime, adding.5 FTE in science for the engineering program, and a part time Music Lab Supervisor to replace the Music position that was eliminated in FY11.
Materials and supplies have been increased and a new bus is planned as part of the 10-year replacement cycle. The proposed FY12 CCHS budget is $23,983,262 and 3.84 percent higher than FY11. Both proposed FY12 budgets are within the Concord Finance Committee guidelines.
"We all recognize that serious budget challenges continue to exist and responsive and responsible budgets have been recommended," said Rigby. "We are grateful for our communities' strong and enduring commitment to excellence in education."
Deputy Superintendent John Flaherty has done another excellent job of leading the budget development process by working closely with the administrative team, school and town finance committees, and town finance directors. The proposed FY12 budget presentations and details can be reviewed on the district's website, www.concordpublicschools.net.