Friday, January 7, 2005
CCHS tries to match $$$ with needs
In preparing for budget hearings in both towns, the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) met on December 14 to discuss a number of pressing needs that will require increased funding in the next fiscal year.
Concord-Carlisle Principal Art Dulong came with a long list of needs, from enhancing academic programs to offering more extracurricular opportunities: textbooks and supplies, the health and fitness program, more elective courses, professional development, particularly in the summer and after-school programs. He is also looking to increase staffing in the Math Department. Currently some of the classes have 27 to 31 students.
Last July, the textbook and supplies budget was cut by 23%. He is appalled at the spending levels for materials and sports. He spoke of the "make do" culture here but wondered how long we could continue to give a great education at these levels.
Dulong continued, saying that in the last four years, enrollment has grown from 1,028 to 1,242. In that time, there has only been a 0.1% increase in the budget for electives. The number of electives, he said, is "woefully inadequateThere is a lot of interest in performing arts. There should be a drama program during school. Over 100 students tried out for the 50 spots for the [spring] musical, West Side Story."
Also, the number of sports teams is the same as years ago, even though the student population has grown by over 200 students. For the first time Coach Moss had to cut students on the swim team. The hockey program added a JV team. People have been asking Dulong to add more teams, specifically a girls hockey team, a sailing team, a boys volleyball team, a co-ed indoor track team and a crew team, just to name a few.
Director of Information Technology Gene Warfel is asking for a budget of $127,000 to replace old hardware and update hardware and software, including switching from Apple software to MS Office for teachers and students.
The list of facilities needs was equally long. Some spaces could be reconfigured for other uses but more space is necessary. Upgrades are needed to the electrical system. There is enough power coming into the building, but how it is distributed needs to be improved. The building was not wired for high tech. There are egress issues. The building is hard to secure and there are no energy-efficient windows.
In reviewing the proposed budget for fiscal year 2006 (FY06), some of Dulong's needs were addressed. The budget for the math department will increase and an art elective will be added, probably for a drama course. Clerical budgets, which were cut drastically in the current year budget, have been restored to their previous level. The textbook and supplies budget will get a 4% increase. An increase for technology is also included. No extra money was added for professional development or sports.
The committee voted an operating budget of $17,953,832 for FY06. For Carlisle, this is $103,300 above the FinCom guideline, but RSC member Michael Fitzgerald suggested this money could get moved from the school's E&D (Excess & Deficiency) account.
Under capital expenditures, there is a budget request for $590,000 to pay for new bleachers in the upper gym, new bleachers for the football field and some structural repairs at the high school. The bleachers in the new gym would be moveable so they can be transferred to a new building if one is built.
Add a sport?
How do we add another sport at the high school? What's the mechanism to do this? The committee wrestled with these questions. Should some amount of money be added to the budget to fund a new sport? Dulong felt $30,000 would be needed for a girls' ice hockey team. There is enough interest for a team, but he wasn't sure about ice time, coaches and other teams to play, nor did he know if the team would be sustainable over time. A co-ed indoor track team for 50-60 students might be added for $12-15,000.
Member Betsy Bilodeau pressed the question as to how another team would ever be added, advocating additional funding in FY06. She also wondered if CCHS has any Title IX issues. In the end, no extra money for a new sport was added to the budget.
© 2005 The