Newton School Budget Breakdown: Non-Instructional Areas, Student Services
The Newton School Committee has heard presentations on different areas of the budget and is scheduled to take a straw vote on the budget tonight.
Superintendent David Fleishman unveiled his $178.8 million fiscal 2013 budget last week,highlighting the fact that there will be no teacher cuts and some program restoration.
Starting last Thursday, the School Committee began a series of working sessions with different parts of the budget. During their first meeting, the group reviewed regular instruction budgets at elementary and secondary schools as well as budgets for technology, English Language Learners (ELL) and teaching and learning.
Earlier this week, the committee continued the budget discussion for student services and non-instructional areas. Career and technical education budgets were also briefly discussed, but there will not be any major changes in fiscal 2013.
The committee is set to continue discussions tonight and possibly take a straw vote on the budget. A public hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, March 20.
Below are some highlights from the budgets for non-instructional areas and student services:
This covers items such as fees, transportation and school operations.
Changes in fiscal 2013:
- Overall employee benefits will not increase. Part of this is due to the fact that the district's unemployment costs will decrease by 25 percent.
- Regular transportation will increase in fiscal 2013 and the contract is in process
- Special education transportation will increase by $173,000 in fiscal 2013 to total $2.9 million
- Additional $7,500 budgeted for new elementary classroom furniture
- Additional $6,000 budgeted for furniture in additional middle school team classrooms
- Added 1.0 FTE (full-time equivalent) custodian "floater" based at Newton North. This position will fill in for custodial absences at NNHS to help reduce overtime costs.
- Increase support staff position 0.2 FTE to help with capital projects and MSBA application process
- Utilities will decrease by $15,000 in fiscal 2013 thanks to energy-saving programs
- There are a number of renovation projects planned with the budget and some grant programs will help with other infrastructure/facilities needs
In addition, there will not be any significant changes to the student activity fees that were started in fiscal 2012, according to Deputy Superintendent/Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Guryan.
So far this year, the district has only collected $700,000 of the estimated $1 million it planned to bring in with the new fees. The administration is hoping that in the second year of the fees, more advisers, students and parents will be aware of the fees and more payments will be made.
The student services budget covers those services for Newton students with special needs. During the 2011-2012 school year, the special needs program has grown by nearly 80 students to a program of 2,486.
According to a trends report issued in December, more students are coming into the district with autism as well as communication, health and neurological disabilities.
Roughly 1.3 percent of the student population, or 157 special needs students, are placed in out-of-district programs.
Some highlights and changes from the student services fiscal 2013 budget include:
- Overall, student services expenses will increase by 6.1 percent or $833,219. This includes tuition, transportation, contracted services and supplies.
- Elementary co-taught classrooms will expand to 12 schools. Only Peirce, Angier and Ward will be without the co-taught classrooms.
- Full-time mental health staff expanded to all elementary schools
- Development of a citywide program for middle school students with social/emotional disabilities and autism spectrum disorder
- 1.0 FTE special educator added to Bigelow Middle School
- 0.2 FTE added for district-wide music therapist
- 0.1 FTE added for district-wide vision specialist
- 0.3 FTE added for district-wide social workers in stabilization program
- 5.7 FTE added to help with enrollment increase (1.8 elementary special education aides, 2.4 secondary special education aides and 1.5 special education aide specialists)