The school doors opened last week and the beginning of another exciting school year has commenced. The first few days went really well: full staffing was in place, students found their way to classes, students enrolled unexpectedly on the first day, and busses ran without issue. Enrollment trends remain stable. Open enrollment found a net gain of 11 more students coming in from other district than leaving the MP district. Lunch lines were backed up the first few days of school but were picking up in pace by week’s end. This week Taher Food Service will add a second check out station at the high/middle school to further expedite students through lunch lines. I have received much praise for the food offerings and meal portions this school year.
The budget projection for this year revealed a $111,000 deficit. I am pleased to report that the proposed budget is balanced and does not require dollars from fund balance to close a deficit. The proposed budget included reductions to staffing, salary reductions from departing staff replaced by new staff, reductions in copier contracts, efficiencies in busing and food service contracts, and changes in health insurance to a Health Reimbursement Account. The budget proposed adequately addresses the strategic plan that included goals to ensure staff have necessary resources for instructional services, lays out a plan for outreach by creating a STEP program to solicit adult volunteers to work with students, sets in motion a stipend for a part-time public relations person to address communications, and includes a capital purchase for one-half the cost needed to air condition the elementary school. The other half of the cost would be scheduled as a capital expenditure in the 15-16 school year splitting the expenses over two fiscal cycles. This updates an aging elementary school building and is intended to assist with recruiting new students to the school district and creates a better environment for academics in effort to lead CESA 3.
The final budget will be discussed and approved at a board meeting on Monday, September 22 at 7pm.
What was your experience during the first week of school? What are your hopes for and/or concerns about the school budget?