The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 16, 2009

High School budget planning underway

The preliminary budget proposal for Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) includes a net increase of about 5% for FY11. However, Carlisle’s bill is expected to grow by closer to 17%. If these numbers hold in the final budget, the assessment for Carlisle will rise roughly $876,000, of which $407,000 is due to a short-term bulge in Carlisle enrollments at the high school.

Board of Selectmen Chair Tim Hult reported the data at a meeting of town officials on Tuesday morning, October 13. Superintendent Diana Rigby gave an overview of the $22.4 million budget and the forces driving up costs, when she spoke at a presentation for parents on October 6.

“Enrollment is 1,246, down 20 from last year,” said Rigby. Carlisle’s share of the enrollment has risen from 28.09% to 30.27%. Each additional percentage point in enrollment translates into roughly $200,000 in assessment. The spike in Carlisle enrollment is expected to subside in three years. Rigby explained that state aid has been reduced. Chapter 70 funding is down 10-12%. Regional Transportation is down 10-12% and Circuit Breaker Reimbursement has fallen from 70% down to 40%. In June, $558,476 had to be cut out of the FY10 budget. That was done by raising parking and athletic fees and reducing the faculty by 4.75 FTE (full-time equivalent) teacher positions. As a result, most classes grew to an average of 24 to 25 students. Some classes which are a single offering now have 28 to 29 students. Rigby thanked the two towns for passing a $750,000 override last spring for CCHS facilities improvements and planning.

Rigby broke down the school budget saying that approximately 60% is for salaries. There are steps, lanes and scale increases for the teachers based on years of service, increased education, such as graduate courses or further degrees, and a 3% adjustment for the cost of living. In addition, health insurance and energy costs are rising. “We’re looking at a 5% increase to handle all the above,” said Rigby. She stressed core principles and the importance of after-school programs, music and art. “It’s the whole experience that prepares students…We don’t want to cut programs.” She also said there was a need for tech specialists. “Teachers need their coaching. We need to provide support.” She praised Concord Education Fund for bringing students great opportunities.

Capital projects

Rigby told the crowd that a facilities master plan was being developed to outline long-term facility improvements. She then gave an overview of the capital projects that have been done and are being done at the high school. “We are in the process of getting new curtains for the auditorium.” A fire curtain will be added as well. The fire alarm system upgrade has been completed and the main office has new carpets. There have been some updates to the bathrooms. In addition, a new Life Skills classroom has been added and a Hands-On-Science program has been started. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito