Friday, February 18, 2000
Carlisle School Committee wrestles with fiscal constraints
The Carlisle School's proposed level service budget for the FY'01 is $6,3776,507, a 10.48 percent increase over the realigned FY00 budget. This is a sum already committed for teacher salaries and busing contracts, mandated services and projected enrollment increases. Even with the help of an override and an anticipated transfer from free cash, the school bill will be approximately $60,000 short. As Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson said, "We don't have enough money. It is reasonable to proceed to support the FinCom plan, but we will need to look for other ways to find revenue. I am not prepared at this time to tell where we are going to get the cuts."
As for the Concord-Carlisle High School budget, Carlisle School Committee member Paul Morrison said the town of Carlisle has a negotiated formula with Concord. Fox-Melanson pointed out that the students "get an excellent education at CCHS. Both towns pay the same amount of money per student. Carlisle is assessed more this year because it is a matter of a shifting population."
The CSC wrestled with ways to reduce Carlisle's assessment for the high school. Morrison stated, "Any reduction in Concord would have to be large in order to translate into any reduction for Carlisle." Regional school committee representative Harry Crowther mentioned that CCHS is basically without fees. "It is not easy for Carlisle to come up with more fees, although we don't have a band fee yet."
At the end of the meeting, Crowther was asked by parent Sandy Savage, "Why not look at the music department for fees when you have fees for other activities and sports?" Crowther replied, "I won't be popular if I bring up music. Our school has the highest athletic user fees, but no band fees. Concord avoids user fees. I don't know any other school with fees as high as Carlisle's are."
Chair David Dockterman commented, "We need to think very carefully where we can place the cuts. There is a risk that whatever we do will become a norm. We can't count on the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF) to pay for textbooks. This is a community school and the community benefits from a good school."
Four place holders for articles
The CSC also approved four place-holders for the FY01 Warrant for Annual Town Meeting. The place-holders allow the school to formulate separate Warrant article requests for school items.
One place holder ensures that an article on the Warrant is available to fund, in an amount to be determined, a feasibility study for school expansion options. The second article, for an amount to be determined, is for the general override for the Carlisle Public School. The third article, for an amount to be determined, is to fund any expenses above those previously approved for the purpose of replacing two rooftop ventilation units on the Robbins Building. The fourth article is for an amount to be determined, if necessary, to fund any costs above what have been previously approved for the construction of the school septic system on the Banta-Davis land. The last two building projects cannot be initiated unless full funding is in place.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito