The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 12, 2008

Carlisle School projects three-year budget forecast

Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle, along with Carlisle School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman, presented a new three-year budget forecast to the Carlisle School Committee on December 3 (see Table 1). This is a preliminary summary which only provides totals for the four main categories: Regular Education, Special Education, Administration, and Operations. The highest percentage of the budget, 54%, is spent on regular education. Special Education is 21% of the budget, followed by Operations at 14% and Administration at 11%.

The school budget has increased since 2005 by an average of 3.71% (see Table 2). “Most public and private school budgets increase 4 – 5 % annually. CPS increases have been below or near this mark,” Doyle said.


Doyle explained the assumptions her team made while building the three-year budget:

• No new initiatives will be introduced for the next three years
• Supply and service costs will increase by 3% to 4% each year
• Special Education transportation and out of district placement costs will rise 5% annually

• Special Education state grants (“circuit breaker”) will decrease after FY10
• Preschool fee will increase by 5% annually
• Bus fee income is projected at $50,000 annually
• All-day kindergarten fee will remain at $760 per child
• A computer replacement budget of $100,000 is included
• Chapter 70 state aid and all grants will be fully funded.

However, Doyle has some concerns. “When these assumptions were built, it was a different fiscal climate than now. We are hearing from the State House that there is a potential of some cuts coming in January.”

Zero growth in FY10?

To achieve a “zero-based budget” in FY10, Doyle said, some staff reductions will be necessary. The FY10 budget begins with a projected total of $9,210,206, but after a series of reductions (see Table 3) the total is rolled back to the FY09 level of $8,941,684. The reductions are listed in “tiers,” with tier 1 being reinstated first if funds are available.

Doyle noted that due to falling enrollment the World Language program, which currently offers Spanish, French, and Chinese, would be reduced by one part-time position. However, she said, the Elementary Language program would continue, with the potential for reduction in the length of Spanish classes in grades K–4. School fees will also be reviewed, Doyle said.

Committee member Louis Salemy commented on the budget, “Eventually they will have to get a chain and lock the school down. Our kids are paying for the mistakes the town has made without growing the revenue base.” ∆


© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito