Friday, March 31, 2000
Carlisle School considers bus service and activities fees
The Carlisle School Committee is trying to resolve complex budgetary constraints with the pressures from increasing enrollment and the demand for providing "level-service" education to all students of the Carlisle Public School.
On March 21, the discussion continued on how to find the $60,000 necessary so that the school can provide students with the present services next year. Business manager Eileen Riley has come up with a plan to broaden the basis for fees as a source of additional funds. The fees being considered are a bus fee for students living within a two-mile radius of school and all students in the seventh and eighth grades. State law does not require bus coverage for those students. Riley is also presenting a plan to increase the fees for recreational use of the school facilities and to add a fee for student participation in the bands and specific activities, such as for math league. CSC member Cindy Nock said that really there isn't anything else to do except to cut people and teachers.
Six or seven Carlisle school parents were in the audience and expressed concern about the possibility of increasing numbers of students in the classroom. Parent David Erickson said he was thankful that the class numbers are now reasonable and questioned what parents could do to maintain the smaller class sizes. Parent Jayne Prats expressed concern about the third grade saying, "if student numbers in the classroom are increased, it is not level service." Joan Bero, another parent, commented on overcrowding in the buses. She feels with the increased number of students with equipment, such as band instruments, the safety on the buses is compromised.
Fox-Melanson explained, "I haven't made any recommendation. We do have a concern with the space available, as well as with class numbers." Nock went on to say that the school facility has only a certain number of rooms. "With increased enrollment," said chair David Dockterman, "you run out of nooks and crannies."
Parent Chris Puffer summed it up for those in the audience. "Class size is most important and is a priority."
Member Suzanne Whitney-Smith said, "The whole issue is in the budgetary process. The selectmen look at what the town will accept. Numbers are put together for all the taxpayers of the town. For the inevitable changes in the school, we are always playing catch-up."
Dockterman explained the budgetary dilemma, "In the last years the town has seen larger tax bills. This belt-tightening the town is feeling now is in response to what has happened in the past."
Public hearing on proposal
The Carlisle Public School will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the Robbins Library to hear comments on the facility use rate changes, bus fees and the proposed activitiy fees.
The Carlisle School Committee adjourned to have an executive session to discuss a case of pending litigation. The next meeting will be on April 4.
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