As of March, the School Committee Budget Request for FY14 is $49,251,566 as recommended by the Town Manager. This encompasses a carryforward budget of $48,801,566, new requests in the amount of $393,000, $72,000 to fund the addition of a School Resource Officer at Westford Academy, and $465,000 to supplement the tuition account. Reallocations were also made within the carryforward budget to partially fund these additions.
The transportation contract was successfully renegotiated for FY14, resulting in savings of $172,000. Estimated savings of $100,000 from the net-metering project being coordinated by the Town Manager’s office have been used to reduce the electricity budget. Savings from staff turnover, particularly due to retirements at the end of FY13, are expected to be approximately $120,000 and the salary accounts have been reduced accordingly. And the expected tuition credit of $88,000 from Merrimack Special Education Collaborative has allowed us to reduce the tuition budget and apply those funds towards the new positions that are included in the FY14 request.
- National and regional growth in jobs and spending will be slow.
- Elementary enrollment is beginning to decline slowly, impacting staffing levels.
- Middle and High School enrollment will continue to remain relatively stable over the next several years.
- School Choice openings will remain at approximately 75 students to enhance revenues.
- Revolving fund revenues will remain relatively consistent and are needed to supplement the Town's appropriation to fund the total cost of school operations.
- We will continue to rely on fees to fund some programs and services.
- Many expense accounts (educational supplies, custodial services, building maintenance, long-term leaves) remain underfunded.
- School Committee pupil/teacher ratio guidelines will be observed. Grades K-5 = 22:1; Grades 6-12 = 25:1
- We need to maintain our strong MCAS results, and also to improve the performance of our struggling learners.
- The number and complexity of services of students requiring special education services continues to increase.
- Every effort is made to preserve programs, classroom teachers and other vital professional and support staff.
- Circuit breaker reimbursement is projected at 70% (current FY13 rate).