On Monday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cummings School Superintendent of Schools, John Macero, and the Winthrop Public School Department (WPS) will present their recommended budget for the 2014-2015 school year.
Macero said the WPS will ask for a $18,573,789 budget, an increase of $1.9 million.
“We understand that the town won’t give us everything we requested,” said Macero. The School Department will send an approved budget to the Town Manager who will send his recommendations to the Town Council. “We did the process a little different this year and I wanted my school staff and leadership to put together what their needs were to help improvements in education.”
Macero said when WPS receives the Town Managers recommendations back he can then go back to his staff and begin some trimming of items that are not a priority for the 2014-2015 school year.
Some items that have increased the recommended budget include a $225,000 increase in technology. Macero wants to be able to purchase IPads for all students from 8-12 grade. This would allow students to download books and other materials onto their personal IPads.
Another costly imitative is $235,000 to make all athletics free for students by waiving user fees. There would be another $20,000 to make all non-athletic related activities free for students.
One item that will jump out n the budget is $450,000 for special education. Macero said that number is a worse case scenario. Winthrop is forced to pay out of district tuition for special needs students if they cannot get the special need services at WPS. Macero said he is confident the expense would not be that much.
“We have been working extremely hard on this line item and making sure we can provide the special need services all students living in Winthrop might need to keep them from having to go out of district,” said Macero.
Some of the budget also focuses on the challenges WPS will face as the school Department begins to transition from four schools to three. The schools will be reconfigure schools to begin the construction of a new Middle/High School facility. The upcoming budget will reflect this change.
However, having one less school to maintain, said Macero, means that WPS is able to put some of that money in a fund that can be used towards the three remaining schools over the course of the two year construction project.