This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Public Hearing on FY10 Budget

Dr. Hayes has presented a final draft budget to the School Committee, and scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday May 12th. The latest budget shows only a $158,330 shortfall, but there is still some uncertainty on the funding from the state, and on some expenses. Dr Hayes explains some of this in the following note from the Admin website. We will add any further explanation, as we get it:

For those who are interested in the district budget for next year, the latest information has been added to the Administration webpage. Presented to the School Committee on April 29th, the Draft Budget reflects a shortfall of $158,330. A copy of the budget may also be obtained at the Superintendent's Office in the Memorial Building.

The Public Hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th, at 7 PM at a site to be determined.

The budget extracts all the items and expenses related to revolving accounts. These are identified in the Draft with shaded lines and the revolving account titles below the specific account from which expenses were shifted to a revolving account. By doing this for all revolving accounts, the remaining budget only includes those expenses being paid out of the General Fund, i.e., the City's contribution plus Chapter 70. While this arrangement makes it more complicated in understanding our complete program, it is done so that we comply with proper accounting procedures.

Using the same shaded line with "SPED Stimulus Grant" as a title, we have identified $366,000 of expenses which we will cover using the federal Stimulus money provided for Special Education. This appears to be about the limit of what we can cover using Stimulus funds, including SPED and Title I.

There is still some uncertainty surrounding expenses and revenues. Specifically, we still need to learn more from the state legislature. We also need to learn more about enrollments in the preschool and kindergarten programs as well as projected enrollments in grades 1 through 5. Amounts for entitlement grants such as Special Education and Tile I have not been announced. And we still need some time before it is realistic to estimate any surplus for FY09. Following the Public Hearing, the School Committee will meet again to discuss the budget on Wednesday, May 27th.

11:00 PM UPDATE: For those who have been following the stages of this year's budget, and wonder how the previous estimated shortfall of $931,881 was reduced to $158,330, Dr Hayes explains, as follows:

At the March 25th School Committee Meeting of the Whole, a projected budget was shown with a shortfall of $931,881. That gap has been significantly reduced to $158,330. A small part of that reduction has been achieved by purchasing textbooks this year rather than next for Foreign Language programs in the Middle and High schools. The amount of this cut was $25,000.

The school district has been very fortunate this year in the special education tuition out accounts. Last year, we carried over one Circuit Breaker Payment ($318,811) which offset a portion of Collaborative tuitions for FY09. In addition, not all the private schools increased their tuitions as had been previously expected and budgeted and the district special education student population changed in our favor (i.e., children moving to other states). Also, because of the diligence of the special education department, there were many favorable cost shares negotiated with other agencies which helped to offset costs.

Currently, the projected surplus in special education will be $615,442 (the last two Circuit Breaker payments). This reduction is shown in the Collaborative tuition account SP 860 62910.

Changes in Early Elementary programs and declining elementary enrollments have led to cutting two elementary teacher positions and moving a third salary to a Special Education grant. The net salary reduction is $184,967.

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