Friday, January 17, 2003
Carlisle School Committee votes 2.65% increase
New Carlisle School Business Manager Steve Moore, on the job for only four days, landed on his feet in the midst of the preparation of the FY04 Carlisle School Budget. At its meeting on January 7, the Carlisle School Committee (CSC) voted to adopt the guideline budget requested by the Carlisle Finance Committee (FinCom) of $7,405,433, an increase of $189,419 or 2.65% over the current year appropriation for the school. FinCom member Lisa Jensen-Fellows com-mented,with relief, "The vote on this budget is appreciated."
However, CSC members pointed out that this budget level can only be considered a "blueprint." Both the teachers' contract and the bus contract, major portions of the budget, remain to be negotiated. The budget includes a 2.71% increase for the bus contract (based on the Consumer Price Index), but bus fees will have to cover what remains after the negotiations have been completed. In this budget there is no funding for increased enrollment. Kindergarten fees will remain. Funding for books and supplies has been reduced. There is no funding for a permanent substitute or middle school teacher assistant. Special Education (SPED) estimates are based on known cases, but are subject to change in another year.
This budget does include funding for a full time librarian, a half-position of the choral music teacher (previously CSA funded) and three student activity stipends. It also does not restore other personnel and programs that were funded by grants or eliminated this year.
And two override budget proposals
The school committee also voted on an override budget of $7,505,935. After a great deal of discussion, the CSC decided to retain fees for kindergarten and the seventh- and eighth-grade bus service. The increased funding will be directed towards the middle school teacher aide shared by grade 7 or next year grade 8, the second grade teacher, the music program, and SPED education. This budget also does not cover expenses incurred by increased enrollment and for texts and supplies.
A third budget of $ 7,768,198, a 7.65% increase over FY03, was also presented. This budget would restore all programs, but the school committee felt it should not be considered in this time of fiscal crises. This budget would restore the permanent substitutes, the middle school teacher assistant, the Grade 5 foreign language program, the elementary school health program, and the teacher mentor program. It would increase funding for school maintenance, eliminate the kindergarten and bus fees and add a Grade 2 section to reduce class size.
CSC member David Dockterman said, "The level one budget is what we can lay out. Whatever our vote the budget will be more. So much is unknown." CSC member Fitzgerald said, " I am conservative and in favor of small successes so we don't get shot down."
The CSC adjourned and went into executive session to discuss preliminaries for the teachers contract.
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito