By Kate Anslinger
The School Committee was all ears last week, as the leadership team presented the 2017-2018-budget proposal.
The team consists of: School Superintendent John Macero; Gorman Fort Banks Principal, Ilene Pearson; Arthur T. Cummings Principal, Ryan Heraty; Middle School Principal Brian Curley; High School Principal Matt Crombie; Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Jen O’Connell, and Curriculum Director, Frank Woods.
“The leadership team has put great effort and work into these proposals and while one can prepare for the future, it is sometimes unpredictable,” said School Superintendent John Macero, who feels strongly that Winthrop is getting closer to moving up to a level 1 school status.
The district is currently at a level 2 status, however; several tools have been put in place to assess and motivate the student body, which is improving on a daily basis.
For the upcoming fiscal year, July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018, the leadership team has requested an operating budget of $19, 412,701, which is 49.2 percent of the entire town budget. Salaries account for 76 percent of the total school budget request, leaving 24 percent for others expenditures including: instructional material, technology, Special Education out of district tuition, Special Education transportation, Special Education services and expenses, utilities, facilities maintenance, student transportation, athletic expenses, extracurricular activities, general supplies and lease, legal and professional development fees.
While the leadership always anticipates an increased enrollment with kindergarten students, the average increase is 3.1 percent, however; last year the elementary school enrollment was at its highest, with a 4.27 percent increase. The average per pupil expenditure is $12,548, which is below the state average by $2,000.
New residents are always an unforeseen additional cost, and the town takes proper steps to ensure that new students reside in the Town. Winthrop Police Department is responsible for conducting residency checks.
While the leadership team and the school committee hashes out the final budget, they are keeping in mind the fact that all town departments are limited in funds and need more. Unlike more economically advanced municipalities, Winthrop doesn’t have a lot of extra revenue from retail and parking meters and the sources are limited across the board.
“The major challenge facing us for next year is doing our best not to have any reductions of staff, however; the reality appears that we may,” said Macero. “If in the end we must face reductions then it’s important that the leadership team work creatively to continue the strong growth we have seen in student achievement.”