Friday, November 24, 2006
CSC reviews preliminary budget
Praise was given to new Carlisle School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman at the November 15 Carlisle School Committee (CSC) meeting for presenting a preliminary budget so early in the planning process. Attending the presentation was Finance Committee (FinCom) Vice Chair David Trask. During the discussion of a possible override vote he commented that there is some indication that new construction is "tailing off," and was projecting less growth in tax revenue in the coming year. He said free cash was strong this year. "We're sitting on close to a million dollars," he explained. But he warned it should not be used to "Band-Aid" a budget since it could not be relied on every year. Free cash is determined based on the amount of certified unspent appropriations and non-tax receipts in excess of what was expected. Use of the funds can be voted on at Town Meeting.
Trask instructed the school to "give us a budget and indicate what possibly could be cut. I don't personally think an override is a bad thing."
Three preliminary budgets
Zimmerman presented three different budget levels above the basic 3% guideline issued by the FinCom to town departments other than the schools. The "Level Services Budget" contains contractual increases. The "Cost of Living" budget also includes a 3% increase to most items to account for normal price increases for supplies, memberships, repairs, etc. New budget initiatives are included in the last and highest proposed school budget.
Budget assumptions, Zimmerman noted, include a reduction of $150,000 through approximately three teacher positions at $50,000 each, rising costs for utilities including wastewater treatment, continuation of sports, bus, and transportation fees, no Title I funds (requiring the inclusion of the Math Specialist salary), inclusion of the Chinese teacher salary due to the end of CEF funding, circuit breaker funds (state special education funds given to Carlisle School) of $200,279, and the hiring of a part-time English Language Learner teacher (per legal mandate).
Growth budget has three tiers
The last budget,renamed the "Growth" budget, contains three tiers of new initiatives:
Tier I - A total of $67,775 is budgeted for: MCAS tutors, expanding a tech specialist to full-time, professional development, classroom sets of world language textbooks, and technology updates.
Tier II - A sum of $21,150 would be spent for: printed music and instruments, a Strategic Plan, DARE, and the Diversity Task Force.
Tier III - A total of $274,078 would be allocated for: Six electronic white boards, a part-time physical education teacher, a part-time music teacher, two middle school aides, two JV coach stipends, two intramural coach stipends, music instruments and software, Chinese textbooks for home use, and laptop computers.
A few initiatives may be moved into long-term capital expenses, such as technology updates, the electronic white boards and the laptops, Zimmerman explained. Asked by Trask to list the initiatives in order of preference, Carlisle School Superintendent Doyle said she would. The next budget discussion will be at the December 6 CSC meeting.
© 2006 The