MELROSE — The School Committee will vote on a $25 million spending plan for next year at a meeting on May 5.
The 2015-16 public schools’ balanced budget request is $800,000 more than the current allocation, representing a 3.28 percent increase. School finance overseers are using about $2.9 million in offsets to arrive at the $25,172,196 total is seeks from the city. The aldermen will begin discussing the city’s fiscal year 2016 budget, which includes the schools’ request, on May 11.
Salaries for the 507.6 full time equivalent positions in the School Department come to $24,819,026, up $1,231,989 from this year. Proposed contracted services will be $2.7 million, down almost $200,000 from the current spending package.
The total being requested for next year in materials and supplies is $527,000, down $22,998 from this year.
Total spending on equipment and technology comes to $71,479, which reflects yet another decrease from what is being spent in that area during the 2014-15 school year.
In an education-related matter that has nothing to do with the schools’ spending request, the alderman last month approved borrowing $5.3 million for significant building and technology improvements at Melrose High.
Earlier this year, as educators were getting ready to pitch their plan to the the school board, Supt. of Schools Cyndy Taymore wrote this as something of a rallying cry:
“As a district and community, we understand and appreciate the importance of education for our children and our society. In Melrose, we are fortunate in that our children come to us ready to learn, from education-rich homes and supportive parents. We believe that all our children deserve the best possible education system the city and district can provide. Our planning, decisions, and work are based in the principles that:
1. All children can learn and grow.
2. All students should have access to equitable resources including instruction, materials, technology, and highly qualified staff.
3. All children should be able to receive the supports, challenges, and extension for learning that they need as individuals and without being classified as a subcategory of the general education population.
4. All children must master the content and skills necessary to succeed in a global society that is characterized by rapid growth and change.
5. Educators are important to the success of our children. Therefore, providing our educators with high quality professional development, a competitive salary, and supports for both them and their families are critical to our overall success.
6. We must provide our staff and students with the resources necessary to deliver challenging, engaging, and current teaching and learning so that they can succeed academically and personally.
7. Technology and digital resources are now fundamental to good teaching and learning and it is our responsibility to fund and maintain an updated and functional system.
8. As individuals and an organization, we want to be engaged in work that is sustainable, as well as responsive and adaptive to the needs of our students and our own professional practice.
“The question we continuously ask ourselves is ‘How do we keep getting better so that we can improve outcomes for all students?’
“Accordingly, in support of our ongoing efforts to grow and improve the Melrose Public Schools, the Finance and Facilities Subcommittee of the Melrose School Committee has identified four funding priorities for the budget:
• Program – Ensure access to engaging and challenging curriculum and instruction, for example, through class offerings, curriculum alignment, differentiation of instruction, blended learning, and instructional practices.
• People – Maximize value of teacher contract to recruit, hire, train and retain staff that demonstrate high impact teaching practices and are supported to thrive in a professional learning community.
• Resources – Build and maintain a high quality learning environment including, but not limited to, staff, materials, technology, and facilities.
• Reserves and Contingency – Allow flexibility to address unexpected and hard to predict resource allocation due to the changing needs of the political, economic and educational environment.
“The FY 16 budget is an opportunity for the community to have a robust discussion regarding education in the 21st century, to articulate its vision for the Melrose Public Schools, and to set priorities and goals for achieving that vision,” the superintendent concluded.