Mattapoisett School Committee reviews initial school budget

Jan 13, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Superintendent Doug White presented the School Committee with an initial version of their fiscal year 2021 budget, which calls for a teacher reduction, but will include a boost in an unknown amount.

White said that the school plans to cut one sixth grade teacher, as a block of grades with higher enrollment comes to an end. He said that the school this year is down one teacher from last year, and that the enrollment is staying pretty flat or decreasing slightly.

This year, the school has 75 sixth graders. Next year it will only have 67.  Center School and Old Hammondtown School Principal Rosemary Bowman called the last few budgets “a process of every year decreasing a classroom.

However, the school will also get some budget help, though it’s not clear how much, from something called the Student Opportunities Act.

The new act looks to fix an outdated system that unfairly distributes funding. It will award schools aid based on criteria that they meet. Rural schools might, for instance get more funding, or schools with English Language learners.

White can’t say for sure how much each of the district schools will be awarded by the state, because the state hasn’t released the Governor’s budget, which will show how the education funds will be distributed.

That budget should come out on Jan. 22. After that, the school district will have until April to figure out a plan to use the extra funds.

One school committee member asked if White had a target for the Student Opportunity Act funds.

White responded that he did not, but he would make sure that the funds were used in support of the district’s strategic plan.

On a budget note for this year, school committee members voted to transfer $2,940 from the school choice fund to purchase iPads for Kindergarten and the robotics club.

School committee member Carole Clifford said she had never heard of the fund before.

White explained that the school gets $5,000 from the state for each school choice student it accepts. This money is not supposed to be used to supplement everyday budget items.

Bowman explained that the account has built up over the last few years, and that’s why the amount was higher than anticipated.

School committee members had no major comments on the initial budget, and voted unanimously to purchase the iPads.