School Committee Discusses 2019 Budget

Saturday, March 10, 2018
By Kate Anslinger

The School Committee is in the midst of discussing the budget for the 2019 school year and Superintendent of Schools Lisa Howard has been collaborating with principals regarding the needs of the district.

“The first step in our budget process is to look at the needs of each school and what would support teachers and students and of course what is in the best interest of the Winthrop Public Schools,” said Howard, who believes that data will drive the decisions. “Principals and staff are well aware of how the budget is used and where the dollars are being spent.”

One of the dilemmas that the committee faces are the unfunded mandates that come across the superintendent’s desk nearly every day. It is the committee’s goal to assess, prioritize and then come back and reevaluate the progress that has been made.

The fiscal 2019 budget that will be submitted to the town council and town manager is what the administration calls the “needs” budget, due to the fact that it provides the same services as last year in addition to other items that the district feels they “need” to move forward.

The school committee is asking for $21,675,488, which is approximately $2.3 million more that the 2018 appropriation. Considering the town’s new growth will likely be less than $1.5 million, which is shared by all town departments, it is probable that the school department will not get the entire needs budget amount. In order for the school district to operate exactly the same way as last year, the budget request needs to be approximately $1.2 million more than the 2018 budget. The ebb and flow of teaching staff plays a big role in the requested budget, considering 79 percent of the budget is allotted for salaries.

“As a School Committee we are charged with advocating for the schools and the students,” said School Committee member Gus Martucci, who is assigned to the budget subcommittee. “Whatever amount of money the town council and town manager are able to appropriate to the school department, our great administrators and staff will work to best educate the tremendous students of the Winthrop Public Schools.”

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