By Jon Bishop
HARVARD — Superintendent Linda Dwight presented the proposed fiscal 2016 budget to members of the School Committee Monday night.
She noted that the two most expensive parts are Bromfield School and pupil services, or special education.
According to Dwight, the cost centers really come from the top of the chart and include things like salaries and supplies.
She broke it down into six different areas: central office, school facilities, the Hildreth Elementary School, the Bromfield School, pupil services, and technology.
The central office summary page showed “some significant changes” that the district has taken, she said.
“They include the early retirement incentive,” she said, which jumped from $6,500 in fiscal 15 to a proposed $24,000 in fiscal 16.
She said that the increase came from the fact that teachers now let the district know of their retirement two years in advance.
“We wanted to budget enough to be able to cover that cost,” she said.
Dwight said that the central office is subsidized by building rentals and Title IIA grant and transportation user fees.
The total fiscal 2016 proposal is $805,682, an increase of 4.82 percent from the previous year.
Regarding the Hildreth budget, Dwight said that the associate principal salary dropped to $95,000 in the proposed fiscal 16 budget. In fiscal 15, it was $100,815.
“The associate principal difference is because Gretchen Henry is retiring,” Dwight said.
They are offsetting the salaries, which are $2,500,758 in fiscal 16, multiple ways: through Title I, the K Grant, K-Tuitions, and Devens K-12 subsidies. The offset comes to $620,000, she said.
The total proposed budget is $2,662,297. This is an increase of 2.20 percent.
For the Bromfield, whose proposed fiscal ’16 budget is $4,214,807, one of the areas that showed an increase was the virtual high school expense, which is listed under the non-salary portion of the budget. It jumped from $15,000 to $17,000, and it’s because more students are taking advantage of it, Dwight said.
The Bromfield budget went up by 4.95 percent, Dwight said, and the majority of that came from salary changes. As with the Hildreth, the Devens K-12 subsidies helps offset the salaries. But Bromfield also receives subsidies from school choice.
Overall, the subsidies come to $810,000. The total salary in fiscal 16 is $4,016,018.
Pupil services, which covers special education and other services, is the only place that showed a decrease, Dwight said. It’s from a reduction in tuitions.
“We had a significant change in placement due to aging out of programs,” she said.
For example, out of district tuitions — private locations to which Harvard sends students — was at $520,202 in the proposed fiscal ’16 budget, a drop from $759,204 in fiscal ’15.
The total fiscal ’16 pupil services proposal was $3,351,112, a decrease from $3,457,414. This represented a 3.07 percent drop.
School Committee Chairwoman SusanMary Redinger thanked Dwight for her hard work.
“Really, an excellent job in putting this together,” she said.
The School Committee amended the district’s attendance policy Monday. The policy, according to Dwight, is now more specific about excused and unexcused absences.
New additions to excused absences are up to five days of pre-approved family trips and pre-approved college visits. Unexcused absences now include unapproved family trips.
According to the document included in the packet, “if the school does not receive notice from the parent(s)/guardians within three days of the student’s absence, they will be contacted to inquire about the absence.”
As per state law, Bromfield principal Jim O’Shea sent out letters to high absentee families to request a meeting, Dwight said.
According to Dwight, there were 55 of them.
New Hildreth Associate Principal
Joshua Myler is the new Hildreth Elementary School associate principal.
“We’re excited that he accepted and signed his contract (last) Friday,” Dwight said. “He’s going to be a great addition.”
Myler, a Chelmsford resident and a graduate of Fitchburg State University, currently teaches in Bedford.
According to Dwight, Myler will host public forums that will allow him to meet families and residents.
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