THE VIKINGS' CALL
March winds and April showers together bring May flowers or so we hope. May also brings budget deliberations prior to town meeting.
I don't envy Town Administrator George Samia, if I didn't know any better I would have thought he's a member of the Flying Wallendas Trapeze Act, trying to balance the operational needs of all departments while staying within the confines of tax revenues.
Mr. Samia, Mr. Chris Kelley, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and Mr. David Sheedy, Selectmen's Liaison to the School Department, have been meeting on a regular basis with school committee representatives to discuss how to stabilize the school department budget.
On Monday, April 28, 2014 the School Committee held a Public Hearing on the FY15 School Department Budget, at which time I was asked to give a presentation on the status of next years budget request.
At minimum the town has to address the current structural deficit of $667,000 and we need to add seven new teaching positions at the East Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School to avoid having class sizes in excess of thirty students in 69 classes. These two items add up to $1,007,000.
To help alleviate the financial burden before us we have eliminated the following positions in this years budget:
- The School Business Administrator Position
- A first grade teacher
- A second grade teacher
- Four teaching assistants
- Three secretaries
- One School Psychologist, and
- We have reduced our operating budget by $236,000 in comparison to this year.
Between now and the Annual Town Meeting, I am confident that the town's financial teams and the school committee will continue to engage in constructive, responsive, and respective dialog.
What does scare me is not knowing if our collective brain power, creative thinking, and revenues are sufficient to solve the School Districts financial problems.
What I do know, if I had a child in the East Bridgewater School System, I would make a concerted effort to be informed of the status of the budget and make a super-human effort to attend town meeting on Monday, June, 2, 2014.
Enjoy the month of May.
John A. Moretti
Superintendent of Schools