The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 9, 2001


CCHS outlines priorities for potential budget reductions

At the January 30 Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (CCRSC) meeting, Superintendent Ed Mavragis presented the latest round in budget development, attempting to put into some kind of descending order what would be eliminated first if overrides do not pass.

Because the staffing ratio for student to teacher is fixed by faculty contracts, there is no room for reductions related to teaching staff, Mavragis pointed out. Some activities, if eliminated, might continue to be offered on a fee basis, but this would likely mean a marked decrease in offerings. For instance, a fee-based sports program would only be a "shell" of the existing program. Co-curricular activities would have to have related fees as well.

Proposed Cuts

Brief explanations of the proposed cuts and their impact follow, in order increasing importance to the school program (and decreasing prob:

· New maintenance position, $35,384, would have allowed the school to proceed with several overdue maintenance projects. Without funding, these maintenance needs will continue to go unmet.

· The Challenge Program (additional 0.25 full time equivalent (FTE) teacher) $13,432, is designed for those students who have difficulty organizing their work, completing their homework and attending class on a regular basis. They meet as a group first period each day. Students' attendance and progress are monitored daily, and students receive assistance with their assignments, develop organizational skills, and earn back credits that they have lost due to unexcused absence. Currently CCHS offers one Challenge class and had anticipated the need for a second next year. At this time, the need is not critical.

· Summer curriculum development, $19,890, is the equivalent of what research and development is to industry. Without it, the educational program will stagnate. Elimination of these would diminish the school's ability to provide staff with summer work they need to revise and develop curriculum. Several new courses are being offered next year, which require development support. Numerous other proposed projects involve revisions to existing programs.

· The radio station, $22,000, is not funded in the school budget. As a result of the efforts of the Friends of WIQH, a community group that solicited funding from individuals and community agencies, enough money was raised to hire a station manager to put the station back on the air. Within three months no fewer than 100 students were actively engaged in this co-curricular activity. The amount proposed for the FY02 budget represents a portion of the station manager's salary. If the school does not assume this partial cost, it will need to rely on the Friends of WIQH to fund station totally. Otherwise, operation of the station will be curtailed.

· Secretarial/clerical increases, $55,241, are proposed for the Data Services Department, which serves all of the Concord Public Schools and the Regional School District. Without this support the efficiency of the technicians in this department is greatly compromised. The Personnel Office has been seriously understaffed with respect to clerical assistance. As a result, personnel functions that must be completed in a timely manner to be effective and/or comply with regulations continue to be behind schedule. The athletic director has had no clerical assistance. This amount would provide approximately 10 hours a week of assistance for clerical and equipment management responsibilities. Also included in this amount is a sum to restore the clerical assistants in the high school's instructional departments to the level we once had. Without this funding we will not be able to address these needs.

· Additional Library Aide, $19,447, is an enrollment driven request. Staffing in the high school library has remained constant for at lease the last 15 years. Enrollment increases, the introduction of information technology and the impact it has had on curriculum activities, has changed the nature of the program that the library is offering. There are very busy periods during the school day when only two people are available to supervise and assist students and faculty on four floors of the facility.

· Computer lab technician, $25,166, is a new position. Currently the computer program is staffed by an instructional technology specialist, assisted by a lab supervisor. The technology specialist teaches a web page design course for the equivalent of 0.25 FTE time. The remainder of his work week is spent in assisting teachers with curriculum units that incorporate technology, managing the high school student and teacher file server, troubleshooting hardware, addressing software and network problems, relocating computers for special activities, installing and upgrading software, assisting teachers and students with using the technology, providing staff development workshops, providing supervision for four computer labs, and consulting with teachers on how to integrate technology into their curriculum areas. The lab supervisor assists the technology specialist with the non-instructional aspects of the job.

· Intervention/Prevention Councilor, $14,675, position has been grant funded since its inception with major funding coming from the Community Chest. The position has proven to be a valuable asset to the school and by extension to the community. Because grant funding cannot continue indefinitely and because this position has become an essential one for the high school, the school wants to move it to the budget. The proposal is to assume budgetary responsibility by funding .25 of the position for next year.

· Equipment, $3,000, budget funds are used for the purchase of classroom furniture, office furniture, such as file cabinets, and equipment for the main office and departments within the school.

· New Copy Machine, $25,000, will be used by teachers to prepare materials for their classes. In order to keep up with demand for copying, we need to have machines that are in good operating order. Therefore, we need to establish a regular program of machine replacement. This amount was intended to begin that program. Without this funding, a new machine will not be purchased, and in all likelihood, we will lose the operation of one of the existing machines next year.

· Guidance college visits, $2,000, are needed to maintain relationships with admissions officers and to remain up-to-date about colleges to which students apply. This will not occur without this funding.

· Technology Software and Hardware, $55,000, is required to maintain an appropriate amount of technology and relieve scheduling pressures by adding more units to the existing mobile wireless lab.

· Professional Development, contracted services, $10,750, and staff developer, $2,000, if not approved, would make it difficult to meet the state mandate to offer no cost professional development options to enable staff to meet certification requirements.

· Field Trips, $3,453, will fund all course related field trips.

· Info Technology, $10,000, is needed for library upgrades.

· Summer Curriculum work, $20,000, is required to permit curriculum development work to be done over the summer.

· MCAS Remediation (partial), $15,000, would provide approximately 24 hours of instruction for about 50 students. Beginning with this year's sophomores (the Class of 2003), all students must pass both the English and math parts of the MCAS testing program. This year we have about 18 students in need of English remedial work and 30 students in need of math tutorial.

· Computer Lab Supervisor (existing), $25,166, is needed to keep aging equipment functional and to support teachers' use of technology.

· Adult and community ed funding, $52,234, is needed to provide support for these functions withgout requiring significant fee increases.

· Co-curricular programs (after radio reduction), $91,899, fund all co-curricular activities except the school musical which is currently part of a teacher's teaching assignment.

· Athletics (after clerical reduction), $371,950, if not funded, will end the athletic program. It would be cost prohibitive to fund the program entirely with user fees.

· Additional Music Salary, 7,500, will enable to school to schedule two choruses next year, due to growth in the program.

· Social Studies Collaborative, $2,000

· Virtual High School (VHS), $14,500, provides access to over 40 unique on-line courses for 30 students at CCHS. VHS is one of the best virtual learning environments in the country and the US Department of Education funded its development.

· Guidance increase, $28,658, is needed to maintain the contracted ratio in light of growing enrollment. The plan for next year is to use the .school-to-career position to expand our growing shadowing and internship program for students. This portion of the program will be eliminated without this funding.

· Planning Room Supervisor, $45,896, allows students who have behavioral issues to spend their time at school engaged in productive academic and counseling work. This position provides an invaluable link between problematic students, staff and parents.

· 2.0 Teachers, $70,000, are needed to comply with the teachers' contract, which stipulates a 90:1 student/teacher ratio for the five large instructional departments, resulting in an average class size of 20-22. The contract also allows for a 95:1 ratio, which would be the staffing level if this sum were reduced from the budget. The result would be an average class sizes of about 24, but several classes would need to be in the high 20's/low 30's to achieve that average.

· Senior Project, $178,664, allows up to 40 seniors to elect a senior project as a second semester course. This program enables students to develop their own course of study with a teacher mentor. This program will be eliminated with this budget reduction and students will need to take another course in its place.

· Technology, $62,682, would replace 32 aging computers that were purchased with grantmoney from the department of education. These funds would also allow for the upgrade of course-dependent software. Without these funds, computers will not be replaced and supplies, materials, and software upgrades will be kept to the minimum needed to keep labs functional and technology-dependent courses running.

· Supplies and materials, $14,000, if not funded, would need to be taken from departments across the school, resulting in the purchase of fewer classroom supplies and books than had been planned.

· 0.5 FTE Teacher position, $20,500, is required to prevent crowding in classes and maintain the minimum 95:1 ratio.

· Department chairs teach 3, not 2 classes, $55,000. Department chairs are part of the leadership team for the high school, which meets twice weekly. A reduction in the time available for administrative duties would most likely impact the areas of supervision and evaluation of staff and programs. These responsibilities would need to be assumed by the building administrators who would need to redefine the priorities of their particular positions.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito