Superintendent of Schools John Macero said the School Department will make a preliminary budget presentation to the Town on Tuesday, March 10 and will begin advertising the meeting in the Winthrop Transcript next week.
“We will unveil the preliminary budget and ask for recommendations so we can turn it over to the Town by April 1,” said Macero.
Macero said that he and the Department are still working on preliminary figures. At the last School Committee meeting Macero talked about the challenges faced as the school Department begins to transition from four school 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.
“We are putting together a budget that will benefit all the students based on needs of students and the facilities they may be at during the transition,” said Macero.
Beginning September 2014, the Middle School will become the High School during construction. This school will include grades 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. The 8th grade class will be on a high school schedule but will have its own wing and not be mixed with upper classman. The Cummings School will then accommodate grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. To accommodate from an extra grade at that school Macero said there will four modular classroom attached to the Cummings throughout the duration of the reconfiguration. The Fort Banks School will then add a 3rd grade classroom making the reconfiguration possible.
As the Middle School becomes the High School’s new home for students over the next two and a half years the School Department will spend some money to give the Middle School as face lift.
“Some of the cost savings we may see is the fact there are less schools to run during the transition and therefore less to spend on utilities,” said Macero. “However, we want to keep that money in the maintenance budget and see that budget continue to grow.”
Other items Macero and Department may be looking for in the budget is finding money to expand world languages to the elementary school level. There is also a plan to expand music to lower elementary school grades so more students take part in this enrichment program.
“We had over 120 students perform recently and we hope that number continues to grow but it costs money to expand these programs,” said Macero. “We are trying to figure out ways to share resources and personnel as we build the new Middle/High School.”
Macero said there could be an opportunity to expand programs like music and other specialties due to the fact specialists could be housed in one building during the construction of the new school complex.
“Instead of students getting music once a week, or language, maybe there is an opportunity to expand these programs because the specialist will no longer have to travel from one school to the next during construction–we could keep them in house,” said Macero