At the January 22nd School Committee Meeting, I presented the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Superintendent’s Budget Recommendation. The FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget is the result of nearly four month’s work that began in October of 2019. It includes input from the District’s teachers, department heads, building principals and central office leadership. Last night’s presentation of the FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget begins the second phase of our budget development process, which will conclude with the School Committee adopting its version of the FY21 Budget on March 11, 2020.
I would like to thank Assistant Superintendent Jeff Sands for his work this year in thoroughly re-developing the District’s Budget Documents. I think you will agree that these materials provide the public with a greater level of detail and transparency regarding the District’s finances.
The Superintendent’s Recommended Budget includes a total Operating Budget of $34,689,267 or an increase of $1,894,098 or 5.5% over the current year. This increase is made up of the funding required to maintain “level services,” or the continuation of the current services, programs and operations of the District in the amount of $1,662,072, and an investment in critical priorities that are necessary for the continued success of the District in the amount of $232,036.
As has been the case in recent years, the main drivers behind the level service increases to the FY21 Budget continue to be staff salaries ($738,593, 3.4% increase over FY20), staff and retiree health insurance costs ($343,811, 7.7% increase over FY20), tuition for students educated in out-of-district placements ($270,120, 11.3% increase over FY20) and the District’s required contribution to the Essex County Retirement System ($97,026, 9.5% increase over FY20). Together these four items comprise $1,449,550 of the total increase.
Major components of the investments to critical priorities include funding to add late bus transportation to allow student access to after school help sessions, clubs and activities ($64,800), additional Chromebook Carts to increase the availability of technology resources for Middle School Students ($42,150), and funding to ensure the adequate cleaning of the schools’ cafeteria spaces ($29,136).
Over the course of the next seven weeks, the School Committee will dedicate a substantial portion of each of their regular meetings to reviewing and discussing different aspects of the FY21 Operating Budget. As part of this process, the School Committee has scheduled two public hearings on March 4 and March 11 to gather feedback from the community on the proposed budget. The full calendar of School Committee Budget Development Meetings is available below. Future School Committee Meeting Agendas will be posted to the District Website. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Proposed FY21 Budget, follow the School Committee’s discussions through attending School Committee Meetings or watching on Boxford Cable Access TV and to participate in the public hearings to lend your thoughts to the FY21 Masconomet District Operating Budget.