The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 7, 2000


CSC reacts to FinCom's six-percent guideline for Carlisle School

The Carlisle Finance Committee has notified administrators that the Carlisle Public School has a budget guideline with a six percent increase for next year and that the Carlisle portion for the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District has a nine- percent guideline. The FinCom hearing on the Carlisle School's FY01 budget will be January 19 in the Town Hall.

The budgetary guidelines caused some consternation among the administration and school committee members. They have prepared a level service budget which translates into a 10.48-percent increase. The budget for the current fiscal year is $5,771,419 and with the proposed guideline for next year it would be $6,117,704. The school's estimated level service budget for FY01 reaches $6,376,507 which includes a $605,088 increase to cover everything from contractural obligations, the bus contract, enrollment increases, substitute teacher increases, outside student placements to additional legal services.

CSC member Paul Morrison pointed out that a huge part of the budget is mandated in contracts. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson said the difference clearly means personnel. Chair David Dockterman asked where Carlisle stands in reference to other communities on the ratio between pupil and teacher. Fox-Melanson said, "We did this study several years ago and found that we run a very cost-effective school. We can do it again." Dockterman felt that in making a case to the finance committee the school needs to show it is not extravagant. Fox-Melanson confirmed that with only a six-percent increase, the consequences would be "horrific. It would prove to be an unacceptable level of education." She implied that the administration had already trimmed the budget and it would be hard to make additional cuts.

Dockterman felt that the school should outline the impact of a six-percent budget. When this has happened, one can more easily visualize the changes and the impact on the numbers. Morrison commented there would be no long-term maintenance. Long-term maintenance is about $25,000, nearly equivalent to a teacher's salary. Business manager Eileen Riley commented that when you have to cut more than $200,000, it means cutting people.

Cindy Nock, the committee's representative at the high school, explained the reason for the nine percent increase for Carlisle's portion of the CCHS budget. "Carlisle is sending proportionately more students to the high school and so our assessment is greater."

Dockterman concluded the discussion by saying the consensus seemed to be that the school's proposed budget is the appropriate one for the school. "We need to articulate the consequences for not having this budget."

Capital improvements

Riley, in presenting the long-term capital improvement plan for the school, said the school needs to "keep the buildings in some type of shape." The document presented at the December 21 school committee meeting gives an accurate history of the construction and maintenance of the buildings on the school campus. Riley then gave projections for a five-year capital improvement plan. Items that can be separate Warrant articles for Town Meeting include the expansion of playspace, probably in the areas between the Carlisle Castle and the road and in the bus parking lot. Also needed are feasibility studies for campus expansion and for purchase of a generator with appropriate wiring for the Corey Building.

Riley explained there is no town-wide shelter in the community and it is assumed that in time of crises the school may be expected to provide a safe haven. The campus has already lost power several times this fall, once for several hours, and the administration feels that they should study the cost of purchasing a generator with necessary wiring for the Corey Building to serve both the school and town.

At the end of the meeting members went into executive session to discuss litigation on an issue other than the harassment case discussed earlier in the meeting. The committee was scheduled to meet again on January 4.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito