The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 3, 2009

Regional School Committee praises Rigby, balances budget

Superintendent Evaluation. The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) gave Superintendent Diana Rigby high marks when they discussed her performance evaluation at their June 25 meeting. RSC member Peter Fischelis said Rigby has shown effective leadership, having to make hard choices during an extremely difficult budget year. “She has a strong commitment to expand program and opportunities for students.” In the coming year, she will focus on the English Department and expansion of the Fine Arts Program.

Fischelis said Rigby had done an outstanding job her first year, “She always puts the needs of students first. Concord and Carlisle are lucky to have such a strong leader.” He said that input had been gathered from a variety of people in different positions and many complimented Rigby. In response, Rigby said, “I am pleased to serve you. This is the best job I ever had.”

Rigby will receive a 3% salary increase in the coming year. A 5% wage increase had been planned for administrators in the Concord School and regional school districts; however the administration voluntarily reduced the increase by 2%, saving a total of $21,270 for the regional school district.

School budget rebalanced. The RSC continued its work to balance the FY09 and FY10 budgets in response to recent reductions in state aid (see also “Closing the high school budget gap, Mosquito, June 19.) With the current fiscal year (FY09) ending June 30, the RSC voted to balance the budget by reducing the professional contingency account by $155,377 to roughly $40,000. The professional contingency account usually holds $65,000 to $120,000 at the start of a school year and is used to handle unanticipated hiring needs. In FY08 and FY09 this account held $120,000.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations John Flaherty, the most recent FY10 state aid estimate for the regional school district shows a reduction of $138,452. To make up this difference, the RSC voted to reduce the athletic coaches salary account by $80,000, reduce the co-curricular salary account by $11,440, reduce the campus monitor salary account of $28,881 to zero and reduce the professional contingency account by another $18,131, leaving roughly $22,000.

To make up for these account reductions, the RSC voted to increase the athletic fees from $125 to $200 per sport, with a family cap of $600; raise the student parking fee from $125 to $300 per year and implement a $20 co-curricular fee. These actions, along with the 4.75 full-time-equivalent teacher lay-offs and other cuts made previously, brought the CCHS budget back into balance, baring further cuts in state aid.

Regionalization. RSC member Louis Salemy told the RSC that the analysis done by NESDEC of a proposed Superintendency Union between the Concord and Carlisle School Districts did not show significant savings to warrant the union. He said that one of the alternatives suggested by NESDEC to save substantial money was full K-12 regionalization. Discussion ensued with no strong consensus. Fischelis said, “It’s clear the state is pushing regionalization. We should try to get ahead of the curve.” He encouraged chairs and the Boards of Selectmen (BOS) in both towns to put together a study. RSC Vice-chair Jan McGinn said, “We are aware of good marriages and bad marriages. I have interest in thoroughly evaluating it.” RSC Chair Jerry Wedge pointed out that the state had just cut half of the regional transportation money that they give to the RSD and that was the only incentive to regionalize. He added that the state was giving mixed messages. RSC member Dale Ryder said, “We should go back to the Carlisle BOS. There are strong feelings in Carlisle.” Salemy agreed that it should be driven by the BOS.

Concord Education Fund sets new record. The Concord Education Fund has set a new record, bringing in roughly $260,000 in the fiscal year. Salemy said, “I want to thank our communities for being so generous.”

• CCHS teams win state titles.Concord-Carlisle High School Principal Peter Badalament recognized the CCHS Varsity Boys Tennis Team which won the State Championship for the second year in a row. He said the coach and players were outstanding. He added that this was the third team this year to win State Titles. The others were the CCHS Golf and Girls Fencing Teams.

Concord-Carlisle Community Chest. CCHS will receive $24,000 in grants from the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest. The Community Chest will partially fund the High School Intervention/Prevention Counselor with a $20,000 grant. The Community Chest Allocations Team recommends that the RSD fully fund this important position as “future reductions from the Chest are likely,” states the memo from the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest Allocations Chairperson Mark Bamford. The Community Chest also gave a $4,000 grant to to help fund a counselor for the CCHS Compass Program, an alternative program for students who are at risk of dropping out. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito