The Winthrop School Committee (WSC) recently approved a budget slightly less than what was proposed by the School Department (WSD).
At the last WSC meeting, members voted to approve a $16,950,000.00. WPS had originally asked for $18,537,789 which would have been a $1.9 million increase from last year. That figure was later trimmed to $17,735,037 before the the final budget was approved.
Superintendent of Schools John Macero said while the final budget is a little less than what was originally asked for there is some savings from the closure of the High School as the new Middle/High School project is being constructed.
“Good news is we had a savings from closing of the High School of $200,000.00, those savings helped fund additional reading teachers, world Language teachers, common assessments for each school and common planning time for all schools as well. Extraordinary Maintenance line was doubled from $75,000 to $150,000,” said Macero.
However, one area that Macero seemed disappointed in was the inability to make user fees for student sports free.
When the budget was first trimmed Macero said $50,000 was cut from the Athletics budget. At the time Macero said the $50,000 could be made up through game day ticket sales and admissions costs for athletic events while still keeping user fees free for students.
“By eliminating user fees our students can continue to play sports that is vital to their acceptance in college. Athletics as well as activities should be a continuance of the school day and no child should be made to pay to participate,” said Macero. “The only item we would continue to charge would be for tickets to enter Football, Girls and Boys, Hockey and Basketball. Our projected income would be $40,000 as well as an additional $10,000 from Coke vending and other miscellaneous items geared towards athletics. By collecting gate receipts and other revenue the total request for athletics would be $408,805 instead of $458, 805.”
Macero reported that user fees however will remain at $225 per student per sport.
Of the overall budget Macero has said that Winthrop Public Schools continues to look under every rock for additional revenue.
In a letter to the WSC, Macero said, “As I stated last year, budgets increase and decrease on a yearly basis depending upon the strength of the economy. However, for a student it is their only year in that particular grade. Winthrop wants all of our students to have every opportunity that all our neighboring communities have as well. Once again, the School department is very appreciative of the Town Manager’s support as we continue to move Winthrop forward. Mr. McKenna has continued to express he will advocate for the schools as best he can to provide a solid foundation for all of our students.”