.

Larger Classes and Teacher Cuts Loom if Governor's Budget Fails

Schools would have to cut more than $1 million in projected spending.

 

Under a worst case scenario in the coming school year, Swampscott would have to increase elementary class sizes and cut the librarian positions at the high school and middle school.

It would require other cuts, as well, including two special education positions and two task management positions at the high school.

In total, the district would have to reduce spending by $1,012,399 to operate with a level-funded budget — the same amount of money as this year: $24,305,000.

Superintendent Lynne Celli told the School Committee earlier this month that town funding for the district in 2013-14 was at the same level as this year's funding.

The superintendent, principals, the business manager, and others consulted on the budget, arriving at cuts that spread the pain and impacted children the least, the superintendent said.

The Best Hope to Avoid Painful Cuts

The best hope for Swampscott schools is that the Legislature passes the governor's budget, which includes $742,000 in Chapter 70 education funding for Swampscott, the superintendent said.

If that happens, and the district receives its usual share of the Chapter 70 funding — 61 percent — it would maintain its smaller class sizes and forgo other cuts.

School Committee members urged residents to call elected state officials, Sen. Tom McGee and Rep. Lori Ehrlich, and tell them how important it is that they support the governor's budget. 

Town Administrator Tom Younger said in an interview that the town will have a good feel for whether the governor's budget will pass by mid-April, after the House deliberates and decides on the spending plan.

The town will not know for sure whether the governor's budget will pass until the Senate deliberates and decides. That will be after Swampscott's Town Meeting in early May.

No Increase in School Funding from the Town 

School Committee Chairman Larry Beaupre said the schools have typically received a little more than a 2 percent increase in their budget line item from the town.

The town administrator said this year the town has funded the schools at a level amount — and reduced spending on town general government — because revenues are not increasing as much as he would like.

"There is no growth at this point because basically it comes down to revenues," he said.

That being said the town is looking at some areas where it might be able to save money; and there may be additional money available for schools, he said.

Proposed Reduced School Spending (From School web site)

  • Eliminate most wireless phones in district with $10,000 annual savings and $30,000 less investment in 13 walkie talkies
  • Larger elementary class size or multi‐age * $100,502 Do not replace two retiring teachers
  • Eliminate 2 HS Task Management positions $55,500 Two RIF less unemployment
  • Transfer teacher to new 5th grade position $57,505 Make adjustments in schedules due to small current 5th grade
  • Eliminate SPED teacher position at Hadley $30,251 Change self contained program to inclusion model
  • Eliminate new SPED inclusion teacher at Stanley $37,802 Hire two ABA tutors
  • Reduce 2 FTEs at HS/department heads to teach full schedule $97,760 Used two full time salaries less unemployment to calculate adjustment
  • Reduce MS door monitor positions $17,856 After we move the MS main office, positions will no longer be necessary
  • Eliminate HS librarian position $57,674 Rif less unemployment
  • Eliminate MS librarian position $29,040 Move to 1.0 FTE reading and hire a .5 FTE reading
  • Reduce OOD pending $118,509 Risk ‐ hoping all projected OOD placements do not happen
  • Pre‐paid tuition carry forward $350,000 Risk ‐ hoping these funds are still available at end of FY13
  • Salary differential $50,000 Teachers retiring or not moving up the pay scale as predicted

Total of budget adjustments $1,012,399

First positions reinstated is additional funds become available.

 

Bill Marks February 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM
We must say NO to the Governor's budget. The government has drained every available cent from us working people. We have no more to give. Budgets must be cut across the board. With each tax increase, the economy contracts. Unemployment will increase as working Americans will have less money to spend; we are a consumer driven economy and the more money taken out of the economy and shifted toward government the less actual money will be collected - both by government and the businesses that are trying to contribute to the economy's growth. Government and government spending are the reason why our economy has stalled for the past 7 years. We must reduce government cost and interference and allow working Americans to keep the money they earn and spend it as they like Guess what; if we use our money to remodel our houses, go out to restaurants, buy clothes and spend on other consumer needs, employment will increase and tax collection of actual dollars will increase. It is now time for government to tighten their belt, we working people have sacrificed for 7 years while Obama and Patrick continue to increase our taxes and driving our economy down. Enough is enough!
Chris February 19, 2013 at 01:06 PM
I still don't see how a town with its outrageous Realestate tax levels can be so poorly managed and not focus on Schools/ Education but make decisions like "lets build a police station bigger than Fort Knox" <-- exaggeration, but it does seem a bit I fishy. (Perhaps the budget council since they can't seem to get this right/ balanced needs to take their own pay cuts and leave our teachers / librarians alone?)
Steve Marino February 19, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Amen, well said
S Giantis February 20, 2013 at 03:59 AM
According to US Census data, the total number of households in Swampscott in 2007-2011 was 5,577 with a median household income of $90,148 (2007-2011). The Governor's proposed income tax increase of 1%, would generate $5,027,553.96 (5,577 X $901.48) in Swampscott taxpayer revenue, so that Swampscott could receive $742,000 in chapter 70 educational funding for Swampscott. (Based on these US Census numbers and the chapter 70 figure provided in this article.)
Derek February 20, 2013 at 06:45 AM
Excellent point(s) Chris! "Mismanagement" is the buzzword for this town and a good deal of it starts with the school system itself. I wasn't born and raised here so I have the fortunate perspective of living in other communities and seeing it done better than here. It's going to be an interesting year!

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