The School Committee has been clear that we will vote on the Dr. Lyons’ recommended restructuring and reconfiguration on April 2nd, along with voting on a final override list, on that same evening.
The list is expected to cost $1.63 million dollars, the basis of the override question. We will provide detail to what each item costs, for the City Council, for our April 3rd resubmission of a transfer and order for a special election.
Should that transfer and order pass, should the special election pass an override, those dollars will be added to the school district budget.
The $21,956,582 will have $1.63 million added to it. The total FY ‘08 budget will be approximately $23,586.582. I say this as I do not know the exact dollar or penny what $1.63 million will be, could be $1,630,499 for example.
When we go to prepare the FY ‘09 budget, it will be based on that number, plus the typical City appropriation of 2.5%. And yes, the property tax increase stays in effect for all property owners in the city, for FY ‘08, 09 and for years to come. The hope is that revenue from the state will increase in three years, and revenue from the city will improve as well.
Because we have reduced expenses we will have less cost increase for FY ‘09.
Another way to protect against cost increase is to include items in the override such as a technology purchase, and allocate dollars so that the first year purchase has an impact for some of the next year, we take out less that we will need to buy in ‘09.
What drives this plan is the state of Massachusetts’ outlook for school funding to be flat for the next three years, including this year. If we didn’t reduce expenses this year, we would not have closed the deficit. If we don’t add value by dollars via an override, we will not be able to add value to our educational programs. Our budget gap would remain wide today, and get wider tomorrow. By approaching it in this way, we reduce expenses, add revenue, which mitigates against a widening gap, and provides a platform to add those items to improve student achievement.
With less expenses we should have less exposure to cost increases. Of course, there will be some, but some of those may be mitigated against by results of the plan, again in reducing expenses.
What I would like to do, over the next few days, would be to provide some clear explanation and detail of what each of the five areas of focus are. I would begin with “A Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum.”
As always, any opinion that I express is my own, and does not necessarily reflect those of the School Committee or any of its individual members.
The explanation detail that I would provide is public knowledge.
I look forward to these opportunities to share this information.
Steven P. Cole
Vice Chairman, Newburyport School Committee
(Editor’s note: Part 2 of a two part post)
(Editor’s note: Since the “whole being sued thing” I have not had a “guest blogger” pretty much since October, and I’ve grown to like it that way. For the moment I’ve removed the “Guidelines and Overview” as well as the “FAQ” page from the Newburyport Blog. I am giving a lot of thought to what the policy of the Newburyport Blog might be. Many thanks to Steven Cole, but I think Mr. Cole will be the last guest blogger, at least for a while, until I figure out what I would like to do. Mary Eaton, editor of the Newburyport Blog.)