The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 7, 2003

News

Cutting the high school budget: 'silent anger and frustration'

Responding to pressure from the Concord and Carlisle finance committees, acting high school superintendent Gene Thayer introduced a draft of possible budget cuts at the January 28 meeting of the regional school committee (RSC). Before displaying this list, he confessed his "silent anger and frustration" during the process of creating the list of cuts. "All the time put into this takes away from our kids," he explained. He said he put the original budget together, but now has to "tear it apart to show people we don't have excess in our budget."

'You will not have the same school'

Two weeks ago the RSC voted to propose a "level services" FY04 budget totaling $17,049,565, an increase of 9.32% over the current year. Earlier, the Concord FinCom had recommended a budget guideline of $16,136,558. The levy limit budget level, requiring no override of the Proposition 2-1/2 levy limit, would be $15,472,130. To reduce the level services budget to the Concord FinCom level, cuts totaling $1,264,895 would have to be made, including many items such as MCAS remediation, a custodian, two campus monitors, a SPED (special education) tutor, a planning room supervisor, career ed assistant, and all non-athletic extra-curricular programs. "I hope people understand what's happening here," said Thayer. "This is serious. You will not have the same school [if the cuts are made]," he stressed. To get down to the levy limit budget, deeper cuts would be needed, including the whole athletic program, two SPED tutors, the health and fitness program and secretarial positions.

No compromises

Committee vice-chair Michael Fitzgerald of Carlisle began discussing the possibility of keeping some cuts and compromising on the level services budget. Concord committee member Lauren Walters disagreed: "This committee adopted the level services budget. My view is that is our budget." RSC members should stand with the voted budget, he concluded. Fitzgerald expressed concern: "We will have a problem if we don't show some cuts...We need to understand the times we live in. The public may not support us." Committee member Patrick Sinnott (Concord) said he felt strongly about supporting the level-services budget. Member Rebecca Shannon (Concord) agreed, saying the first job was to convince the Concord FinCom and the Concord Selectmen. Thayer, noting that not all committee members were in agreement with the level-services budget, pointed out, "My first job is to convince the board and don't have us back off from this [level services] number." RSC chair Betsy Bilodeau (Concord) ended the discussion: "We need to speak as a group that this budget is what we support."

During the citizens' comments, high school principal Art Dulong said students get an excellent education at the school and the staff, administration, and parents expect and receive a high quality education. "The truth is you have cut to the bone. That's all we have left." Full cuts would diminish their ability to offer services to the students, he concluded.

Informing the public

At one point, Walters wondered "how to get information to the public" about the effect of the budget cuts. He waved to the reporter sitting at the "press desk" and asked if she were from the Concord Journal. Bilodeau replied that she was from the Carlisle Mosquito and said the Concord Journal does not usually have a reporter at regional school committee meetings.

CCHS Superintendent's draft list of FY04 cuts

Category

Federally funded programs

Amount

$167,880

Running Total

$167,880

Curriculum Development Summer Clerical
1,200
169,080
Personnel Expenses
16,030
185,110
Superintendent's Office Expenses
4,000
189,110
Data Services expenses
89,000
278,110
Accounting/Business Office expenses
4,000
282,110
Staff Development supplies/materials
2,500
284,610
Staff Development Professional Salary
5,000
289,610
Copier
10,000
299,610
1.0 Campus Monitor
22,000
321,610
Curriculum Development supplies/materials
2,585
324,195
Staff Dev. Conferences
10,000
334,195
Field Trips
2,500
336,695
Technology (1)
22,300
358,995
Curriculum Dev. Stipends (summer work) - (1)
9,945
368,940
10% reduction S/M/Texts
27,000
395,940
Custodial Overtime
12,000
407,940
1.0 Custodian
33,000
440,940
0.5 Library Aide
11,500
452,440
Transportation (Vehicle Replacement)
67,000
519,440
Consolidated Secretarial Positions
25,000
544,440
Career Ed Assistant
24,000
568,440
Technology (2)
19,700
588,140
Information Technology
10,000
598,140
0.75 FTE (enrollment)
30,000
628,140
1.0 SPED Tutor
30,000
658,140
Technology (3)
28,500
686,640
1.0 Campus Monitor (2)
22,000
708,640
Additional 10% S/M/Texts
18,000
726,640
MCAS Remediation
55,453
782,093
MCAS Remediation S/M
1,300
783,393
Curriculum Dev. Stipends (summer work) - (2)
9,945
793,338
Health Secretary
7,241
800,579
Personnel Office Clerical
5,268
805,847
Superintendent's Office - Personnel
14,560
820,407
Music Secretary
2,794
823,201
Technology Secretary
15,825
839,026
Data Services - personnel
16,000
855,026
Maintenance - personnel
12,000
867,026
Accounting/Business Office - personnel
12,000
879,026
Health Curriculum Specialist
13,062
892,088
Non-Athletic Extra-Curricular (30%)
35,100
927,188*
Athletic (30%)
132,200
1,059,388
Assistant Superintendent's Admin. Assistant
16,607
1,075,995
0.5 Career Ed Coordinator
22,000
1,097,995
0.5 SPED Teacher
20,000
1,117,995
0.25 Social Worker
16,000
1,133,995
Planning Room Supervisor
49,000
1,182,995
Non-Athletic Extra-Curricular (70%)
81,900
1,264,895
Athletic (70%)
303,100
1,567,995
Technology (4)
21,100
1,589,095
Library materials
19,000
1,608,095
1.5 FTE Health and Fitness
60,000
1,668,095
0.5 FTE Music
20,000
1,688,095
1.5 FTE Tech Ed Applied Arts
60,000
1,748,095
2 SPED Tutors
40,000
1,788,095
Secretaries
50,000
1,838,095
Tech Ed/Applied Tech
34,000
1,872,095**

* total brings CCHS budget to Concord FinCom budget level
** total brings CCHS budget to Concord levy limit budget level


2003 The Carlisle Mosquito