By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The School Committee unanimously approved the recommended school budget for fiscal year 2016 on March 26.
The recommended school budget for FY’16 totals $21,880,786, representing a 4.5 percent increase over FY’15’s budget of $20,938,552. The recommended school budget maintains the town’s status of spending less per pupil than the state average while also covering all of the school system’s contractual obligations.
The School Committee held its annual public hearing on the recommended school budget before the vote was taken but, similar to previous years, no members of the public spoke during the public hearing. The school board also approved the FY’16 budget by roll call vote since School Committee member Dorothy Presser participated in the meeting remotely for the first time.
The recommended school budget seeks to address several goals established by Superintendent of Schools Jane Tremblay and the School Committee. School officials want to ensure student achievement continues to improve at Lynnfield Middle School. School officials also want to expand technology initiatives, offer high quality special education programs and continue recruiting and retaining high quality teachers.
School officials have requested five positions for FY’16, totaling $116,202.
In order to expand the use of technology in the school system, Tremblay wants to add another full-time technology integration specialist, totaling $65,000. She said recently the new technology integration specialist would work closely with current technology integration specialist Jennifer Judkins, who works in all four schools and is serving over 2,000 students and 200 faculty members.
The school department also wants to add two more tutors to LMS, totaling $36,000. Tremblay also wants to add a media center aide for the middle school, totaling $10,000.
Lastly, Lynnfield High School wants to hire an assistant football coach, totaling $5,202. The new coach would coach the JV team as well as work as an assistant coach for the varsity team.
The school department is also requesting $550,000 in capital requests in the FY’16 budget, $300,000 of which are one-time requests.
Similar to previous fiscal years, school officials will once again be requesting $250,000 for technology expenses. The technology budget includes $87,000 for 250 Chromebooks for incoming freshmen and half of the senior class. Funds will also be used to make both elementary schools wireless and replace outdated Smart Boards.
The school department is requesting $225,000 to improve school security, which includes $145,000 for 118 cameras. Currently fewer than half that number are in use in the district. Cameras with infrared lighting will be added at the LHS fields so the fields can be monitored at night.
The security funds also include $5,000 to install a buzzer system at LHS. The balance would be spent on network video recorders, main office video displays and switches.