Friday, March 5, 1999
CCHS budget override: the shape of things to come?
The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee continued its discussion of the budget override for the high school at its meeting on February 23. This is the first year that the high school budget will require an override request to be voted on at Concord and Carlisle Town Meetings.
To maintain level services at the school, there may need to be more budget override requests in future years. There is less free cash in Concord's operating budget this year and the school budget is now at the tax levy limit, explained Gerry Missal, director of financial services for Concord schools. This year's budget increase, drafted by Superintendent Gene Thayer and approved by the RSC, exceeds the 5 percent guideline given by the Concord finance committee by 1.9 percent.
School committee members also cited some of the factors that could contribute to future overrides, such as rising special education costs and the projected increase in enrollment. From a practical point of view, Missal advised the school committee not to think in the short term. He explained that any programs implemented if this year's override passes, might have to be discontinued later if citizens don't support an override request again next year.
Concord member Lauren Walters said he is willing to make the same arguments for the school this year as well as next year. "We are on the path to make the schools better. It's up to the citizens to decide if they support the budget or not."
Nick Michael, a Concord resident running for a position on the RSC, pointed out, "In business, level spending means falling behind." In support of teachers' contractual salary increases in the budget, Concord member Carolyn Musicant said that other school systems are competing for experienced teachers and competitive salary levels are important in attracting and keeping good teachers. "We don't value teachers as much as we should," she said.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito