Friday, November 28, 2003
Shorts from the CSC, November 19
· Wastewater treatment facility. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson noted the positive outcome of the vote for the Carlisle School wastewater treatment facility. "We are over-whelmingly going to be able to flush. We thank the community for their support," she said. Though the committee is anxious to begin construction as soon as possible, committee member Paul Morrison explained that the construction could only be done during certain months.
· Donations. The committee gratefully accepted a donation from the classes of 2003 and 2004 for audiovisual equipment worth $2,600. The funds used were profits from the last two seventh-grade plays. The committee was also pleased to accept a $250 donation from Greg Peterson and Karen Huntress in support of the Carlisle Public School's music department.
· Carlisle fee study recommen-dations. Three Revenue Enhancement Committee (REC) "fee" recom-mendations were quickly discarded after discussion. The committee has focused on three areas: examining fees charged by town departments, the special accounts which receive the fees, and brainstorming new ideas for ways the town might generate revenues. The first recommendation, to charge "overhead" for the afternoon kindergarten program, brought protests based on the concern that the work needed to calculate square footage, electric usage, personnel usage, etc. on an hourly basis and charge the afternoon kindergarten families a percentage of this "overhead" would be prohibitive. "You could spend a lot of money trying to figure out overhead costs," commented committee member Paul Morrison. "We are not a business." Establishing a fair fee makes sense, said Carlisle School Business Manager Steve Moore, but "there's no state guideline and we have to be fair." The afternoon kindergarten program fee is $500. "This is not a new idea," pointed out committee chair David Dockterman. "We've looked at this before." Committee member Nicole Burkel agreed, "We charge what we thought was a fair fee, and we can't make money. We can't charge more than what it costs."
The REC report noted that athletic fees are charged for after-school sports, but no fees exist for such subjects as art, band or music. "We have to make a stand that the arts are part of our curriculum," responded Dockterman. "We charge fees for extra-curricular activities, but the others are part of the curriculum."
According to the REC report, the Recreation Department is not charged for usage of the school facilities. The report recommended "fees charged by the Recreation Commission should offset school facility use." Burkel disagreed, saying the money spent on Recreation Department classes is coming out of the same pockets as taxes for the school. "In the end, you're not making money," noted Burkel. "You're moving your pots around." The Recreation Commission donates equipment to the school, noted Fox-Melanson. "We have a good relationship with the Recreation Commission," agreed Dockterman.
· Regional budget. "The numbers still don't look very good," said committee member Michael Fitzgerald, referring to next year's budget for the Concord-Carlisle High School. He said there was a potential of a 7% cut to the budget. "It's not going to be a pleasant year."
© 2003 The