FY2014 Budget Information
2013-2014 School Year
Superintendent’s Budget Overview
The Medford Public Schools budget for FY 2014/SY 2013-2014 has been set at $49,283,000. This is an increase of 3.79% over the FY 2013 appropriated level. Additionally, this appropriation level has been augmented by a $625,000 one time funding supplement generated by the Mayor’s resourceful and creative development of partnership support. Therefore, the total increase over FY 2013 is actually 5.11%. This significant increase will enable the School Committee and Administration to address both important operational mandates and educational priorities in a substantial and proactive manner.
It must be noted that this year’s budget is further supported by grant funding and improved school department revenues. Also it is built upon a very generous investment of $3.3 million of educational technology implemented in FY 2013 that will play an even greater role in FY 2014 and beyond. This budget also benefits from the ongoing energy work and planning that has saved dollars that can then be applied to educational purposes. There are also other capital projects such as the upgraded security cameras, Caron Theater and playing fields that add important dimensions to our ability to serve students and the community. Furthermore, this summer we will begin a $13.8 million renovation of our high school science laboratories with a 59.16% cost share coming from the MSBA of the Commonwealth.
This investment in our science facilities will enable us to offer state of the art learning to our students in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The project will begin this summer and is expected to be complete by April 2014.
During FY 2014/SY 2013-14 we will also implement a new interdisciplinary center at our high school with the special $50,000 gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies. This high tech facility will encourage project based learning among the disciplines and will play a prominent role in our development of online teaching and learning.
It is prudent to note that we must prepare for reductions in certain key federal funding categories such as Title One and IDEA. It is still unclear how the pending “sequester” will go forward. Also, we do not have final figures from the state budget which is now in conference committee. We have built our budget on conservative assumptions. However, there is always some risk when actual allocations are not finalized. We believe that our lobbying efforts at the Statehouse with the help of our elected representatives and senator will yield good results in the areas of the special education ‘circuit breaker” and vocational transportation. Other work through the DESE and EEC agencies is expected to be helpful in the future. This is the last known year for the current “Race to the Top” funding from the federal government.
The FY 2014 budget is the product of multiple planning processes. In particular the school council and pre-budget reports and the School Committee prioritization process strategically identified the most important funding needs. Additionally the Mayor insightfully addressed several matters that are difficult to fund in the traditional operating budget. The Central Administration is very appreciative of the collaborative approach which has guided our proposed budget.
As we begin our review of the budget categories please note the following:
1. The undistributed account makes provision for ongoing negotiations with our respective bargaining units and anticipates settlement levels that are consistent with our current contracts that are in place. While each contract can be variable, the overall outlay reflects the expected average settlement. Certain contracts will require positional adjustments and specific renegotiation of salary levels. It is our goal to remain cost neutral to the extent possible. These adjustments result primarily from the mandated implementation of the new educator evaluation system.
2. Our elementary school administration will be strengthened by the addition of one new Assistant Principal. Class size at this level will be good with the addition of one new position. Funding has been added to support the kindergarten aides in anticipation of a reduction of the state grant. A new Literacy Program will be purchased for our elementary program for $250,000.
3. One new ELL Teacher is included to meet the needs of that growing population.
4. One new science/technology teacher has been added to the McGlynn Middle to equalize that school with the Andrews and to enable a better scheduling for our middle school foreign language program.
5. A .6 foreign language teacher has been added to the high school program to reduce class size and to assist with the redistribution of assignments. While there has been considerable discussion around the foreign language schedule at the high school going 6 periods per 6 cycle, no change is proposed for this year. We will review the entire high school schedule going forward to determine which courses across the disciplines can be altered to enable certain foreign language classes to go to a 6/6 format. It is in our best interest to do this in the context of the entire high school schedule rather than to do a patchwork fix that may adversely affect other important disciplines.
6. The foreign language program will also receive $37,000 funding for the purchase of new textbooks in Spanish and Italian.
7. Our technology program will receive $100,000 from our special one time funding account. The total for non-salary technology throughout the budget is $375,000. This will support both the operational and maintenance needs of that program. There is limited money available for new acquisitions but we have so much in place that we will have significant capacity. There may be some additional funds available when the air conditioning project is complete for any emergent equipment needs. It should be noted that the science lab project will also add new technology.
8. There will be a significant increase in new textbooks from a combination of both the special one time account and the regular budget lines as follows:
Social Studies $30,000
9. Our music program will see a $20,000 boost to fund the growing instrumental program (band) and to initiate a strings program at the high school built upon the very successful program at the middle school.
10. Our athletic program will be able to fund the very popular crew program with an increase of $20,000.
11. Our GLSA program will get a boost of $5,000 to support its important initiatives.
12. Our special education program is meeting state requirements and positioned to serve students and families with a wide spectrum of needs. Our budget will reallocate funding to support a new therapeutic services coordinator, a new adjustment counselor and a second BCBA specialist. This will address our need to be proactive with students who require more emotional support to succeed in school. We will also revamp the Curtis Tufts program. Our tuition account has been stable but sped transportation will increase. Overall the sped department is performing well.
13. Our regular transportation budget will increase by $20,000. We may see a boost from state funding for regional transportation. Homeless transportation appears to be under funded at the state level by 50% ($45,000 local).
14. We have added $37,500 to our security budget to cover door monitors at our schools. This will be augmented by our collaborative effort with the reuse of traffic supervisors from the city.
15. We have added $50,000 to our substitute budget to recognize that yearly shortfall.
16. There is a $50,000 increase in the Minuteman tuition account to reflect anticipated cost. This year we recaptured $55,000 in funding when some students left to return to Medford. We expect important changes from revised state rules to help in the future.
17. Our maintenance account has received a $100,000 increase to address several important issues. A full listing is in your budget book. The contracted cleaning account has been increased by $75,000. We will be bidding that contract very soon for an actual cost.
18. So far there have been multiple retirements since last year heading into next as follows:
Replacements for these positions have been or will be hired.
While there are many challenges ahead, we are positioned to deal with them in a positive way.
The Superintendent must express his appreciation to my administrative colleagues and their faculty/staff for their fine work helping to prepare this budget. Special thanks to Director of Finance and Administration Ann Giombetti for her outstanding analysis and document preparation. Our Deputy Superintendent Beverly Nelson for her work with the departments and Assistant Superintendent Diane Caldwell for her work with the elementary schools. Also, Pupil Services Director Kathy Medaglio in special education.
This year the School Committee worked very smartly to assist with the budget development process and the Mayor went the extra mile to obtain funding for many very worthy projects and programs. The Superintendent is very appreciative.
As a team we have worked well together to accomplish many important goals and at the same time be fiscally responsible. Our budgets have finished in the black for many consecutive years. We will endeavor to keep that streak alive going forward.
Roy E. Belson