Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Budget Hearing - Mar 25, 2014

Present: Dowd, Conley, Fleming, Smith, Dewsnap, Dufour, Aparo, Heumpher, Quinn
Absent: none

Nutting, Gagner, Dacey

Starting with Town Clerk budget
adjustment in salary for competitive reasons
transfer of passport processing from Town Clerk to Town Administrators office; no change in hours, just shift from one account to another

Q - do we still microfilm?
A - yes, for storage

Q -what elections this year?
A - two, primary and secondary

Q - room in new high school for the election?
A - yes, we'll be there in Sep for the primary election. more may come out to see the school, also be fore the open house

Q - where do we store all the election stuff?
A - we have space set up outside the new school for tat, also in the capital budget is new election booths that would be on rollers

Historical Commission
more stuff going on with the museum, getting small already, looking for additional shelving in the capital budget

Q - volunteers are staffing?
A - Yes, and you can join the Friends of the Mueseum, a non-profit

School Dept
Paula Mullen, Sally Winslow, Miriam Goodman

school budget starts with the foundation budget
state determines the foundation and then the local amount to be supported, the difference is covered by Chap 70

$87M from all sources
28.5% of our population under 18
11,131 per pupil state official number of expense

if you are spending at the minimum, it is not a good education
grants and revolving accounts also provide some income

$4.3M in this budget is being used from these revolving accounts

$55,600,000 is targeted amount
$1.2M over FY 2014 a 2.32% increase

total of 10 new teachers

potential traffic issues once school opens (as the old school gets demolished)

professional development for Common Core, particularly for elementary math program funded in the capital budget (hopefully)

pilot testing PARCC next week, preliminary to help make the decision on adopting the PARCC standard to replace MCAS, DESE has not made a decision yet

difference between what we spend and what the state average is has been widening

while we are spending less, the test scores are very good

(hopefully we can get a copy of the presentation to add)

Q - on line item
A - educational assistance, movement of teachers out of grant funding and into regular budget, the intent of the grant is to supplement the education; EA's came out and teachers went in

Q - what is the difference between the net school spending and the total
A - the capital budget for one is the major, the 11,000 average is only the major 11 categories counted in the State number.

Q - on discretionary funding to the schools
A - the principals agreed to reduce the 120,000 from the line item to other after school activities and substitutes (for common planning time)

Q - medical health services, up by 7.8% but up by 13%
A - those are nurses and LPNs in the schools, contractual obligations account for the increase

Q - re: enrollment, what assumptions did yo make for 2015?
A - anticipating an increase in high school, incoming freshman class may be larger than the 8th grade class we have; additional classes proposed at middle school, anticipated that K going down based upon births from 5 years ago

Q - influx from private to public?
A - yes, due to the new high school

Q - 1.6M in grants, what is our success rate in seeing those continue
A - detail on the grants in special notes in the budget; tied to enrollment data in certain categories; i.e. special education pupils = 1.1M for IDEA. Those are expected to continue, there are reductions from time to time, anticipating to be level funding next year. State K grant is unknown at this time.

Q - moving teachers from middle to elementary?
A - positions would move, the teachers may or not move depending upon the requirements; retirements expected to help provide the shift

Q - I'd like to echo that this presentation is a great package. is the presentation up on the website.
A - If it is not, it will be

Part 2 of the meeting notes continues here

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