The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 21, 2000


Carlisle's share of CCHS budget increases by 18 percent

Due to Carlisle's rising share of the enrollment, the town's assessment for the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School will increase by 18 percent next year. The number of Carlisle students enrolled at CCHS rose from 207 in 1998 to 244 in 1999 resulting in an increase in Carlisle's assessment ratio.

At the January 11 Regional School Committee meeting, Concord School Superintendent Ed Mavragis recommended a new high school budget for the 2000-01 school year that covers existing services. He said the budget was "non-creative," with few new additions. The budget means a 5-percent increase for Concord, close to the Concord Finance Committee's guideline. However, Carlisle's share will increase by 18 percent to cover the costs of the additional students. The Carlisle FinCom's guideline for the high school budget is 9 percent.

Total up 7.7 percent

The total budget requested for CCHS is $13,322,938, an increase of $952,787 or 7.7 percent over last year's budget of $12,370,151. After deducting state aid to the school and debt exclusions for renovations at the high school, the budget assessment to both towns is $11,066,958. Concord's share of the budget is $8,130,894, an increase of $388,128 or 5 percent over last year's budget of $7,742,766. Carlisle's share is $2,936,064, an increase of $447,902 or 18 percent over last year's budget of $2,488,162.

Carlisle RSC member Cindy Nock commended the administrative team for "scouring the budget to provide everything that was needed." Nock gave special thanks to Joanne Delaney, coordinator of special education at the Concord Schools for her work on the budget process. Delaney has worked to include some students with special needs at the high school who would otherwise be sent out-of-district, thus saving on outside tuitions. Concord member Lauren Walters said these were beginnings of initiatives to save costs in special education. Walters said the savings are not yet reflected in this year's budget and it will take several years to have a significant effect.

Carlisle's assessment, or share of the budget, is based on the number of students enrolled at CCHS. Carlisle's pupil ratio for FY01 is now set at 26.53 percent of students, compared to last year's pupil ratio of 24.32 percent of students. Concord's pupil ratio decreased by 2.9 percent to 73.47 percent. Nock noted that Carlisle pays the same per pupil cost as Concord, an agreement Carlisle votes on annually for the regional school district.

As more houses are built in town, Carlisle enrollments are projected to continue to rise over the next decade to about one-third of CCHS students. The high school projects that there will be 263 Carlisle students in the fall of 2000 and a more significant increase to 300 in fall of 2001. Currently, 1,016 students attend the high school, with a peak enrollment of 1,288 students expected in 2007.

Carlisle FinCom Guideline

The Carlisle FinCom has given a 9 percent guideline for the increase in the regional school district budget. However, Carlisle FinCom member Dave Ives said in a telephone conversation that there is a long way to go in the process to determine the override amount that will be requested to cover Carlisle's share of the high school budget. There are five more FinCom public hearings on budget issues scheduled before the end of February when figures will be finalized. The regional school committee will attend the January 26 meeting of the Carlisle FinCom to further discuss the regional school district budget.

What the increase includes

Of the school's budget increase, 23 percent is for five new teaching positions at the high school due to the enrollment increases; 22 percent is for special education, including out-of district tuitions; 20 percent is allocated for negotiations for contractual salary raises for teachers and other school employees; 19 percent is for operations, such as maintenance, transportation and utilities; 9 percent is for step increases for teachers; and the remainder is for medical insurance costs, supplies and textbooks.

Contracts for teachers and other school employees are due for renewal in June 2000 and the budget reflects funds for projected salary negotiations. A total of five new teaching positions will provide additional teachers in English, math, science, social studies, special education and health and fitness to cover the increase in students and classes at the high school. In foreign languages, a part-time teacher is budgeted to assist in teaching Mandarin Chinese I and II, now offered at the high school. The budget also includes salary for a full-time campus monitor to monitor the campus, student parking lot and also activities during after-school hours. With this addition, there would be both a full-time and a part-time monitor. The new budget also contains funds for an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) tutor, to continue the new tutor at the high school this year.

Operations costs are affected by recent increases in the cost of electricity. Mavragis said of the $81,000 allowance for electricity costs in this year's budget, $51,000 is to cover fuel costs in the electric bill due to the recent rise in oil prices. The superintendent noted that the school district is having trouble finding bus drivers due to the job being a part-time position. The district is offering a finder's fee as an incentive to help locate bus drivers. He also said finding substitute teachers continues to be a challenge for the schools.

In an addendum to the budget, Mavragis noted some of the following positions at the high school "which did not make it into the level services budget:" additional funding for a computer instruction teacher and the Youth Technology Entrepreneur program, a stipend for an athletics equipment manager, part-time positions for a grants writer and a volunteer coordinator, and a full-time data services secretary.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito