Proposed School Department Budget Would Increase By 3.6 Percent
Contractual obligations, fixed costs and high school maintenance are the big ticket items.
"Level-Funding" and "Level-Staffing" were the buzzwords, as Business Manager Jeff Sands unveiled the proposed School Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
Sands outlined the budget in a Powerpoint presentation to the Tewksbury School Committee on Jan. 23. The proposed bottom line of $46.5 million represents an increase of 3.6 percent ($1.6 million) over FY 2013. However, the operating budget of $36.6 million represents an increase of just 2.5 percent ($880,764) over FY13.
Sands said he has been working closely with Town Manager Richard Montuori over the last few weeks and his proposed budget is roughly $218,000 over the amount slotted for the school department by Montuori in the overall town budget.
"That difference of $218,000 is exactly equal to the increased maintenance costs associated with the new high school," said Sands, adding that there are several possibilities he and Montouri are exploring to bring those two numbers into alignment.
In addition to the high school building maintenance, an eight percent jump in the cost of health insurance and contractual salary increases represented the "big-ticket" items Sands has had to work around in putting the budget together.
Sands told the school committee that the budget carries no new positions and level funds services at FY 2013 levels.
"It's really too early to make any predictions," said School Committee Chairperson Krissy Polimeno. "Jeff has done a really remarkable job of getting close the actuals."
Polimeno said the district is still waiting to get the final assessment associated with Tewksbury students attending Shawsheen Tech, as well as the final assessment from the Merrimack Education Collaborative for special education students.