March 4, 2011

Community Budget Advisory Team Encourages Residents to Learn About Budget

As school officials consider how to cut $800,000 from the 2011-12 budget, members of the Community Budget Advisory Team are stressing the need for the community to get involved in the budget process.

Gathered in the High School library for their third meeting on Thursday, March 3, the two dozen parents, teachers, seniors, concerned taxpayers and other community members raised concerns the community doesn’t know the impact of cuts the district may have to make.

Faced with a proposed $879,916 cut in state education aid, the district is considering cuts to athletics, afterschool clubs, teaching assistant positions, and other areas. A full list of possible reductions is available here...

“These reductions are not final. They’re a start to a conversation. We need to hear from the community about what it values,” Superintendent Robert Horan told the group.

The next opportunity for residents to learn about the budget process is a Community Budget Forum scheduled for Monday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the High School auditorium. Officials will review the first draft of the budget and answer questions from the community. The district will present a second draft budget on March 17. The Board of Education will adopt a third draft budget on April 14.

On Thursday, the Community Budget Advisory Team met in small groups to discuss issues such as what programs were important to the community and how much of a tax increase the community could support.

Community members raised concerns about a number of proposed reductions. They also asked dozens of questions about areas such as employee salaries and benefits, how reductions in class sections would affect teachers, and where additional cost savings could come from.

At the end of the meeting, team members stressed the need for the district to explore all ways to reach out to the community to ensure they understand the impact of proposed budget cuts. Mr. Horan noted the district will continue community forums, posting info on the website, sending out eNews, mailing newsletters and meeting with groups.

“We’ll go wherever people want to talk about the budget,” Mr. Horan said. “If you want me to meet with 15 people in a living room, I’ll be there.

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