Deerfield school committee to ask for 3% more money

  • Deerfield Elementary School. Recorder File Photo

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

DEERFIELD — Facing decreased revenue, the Deerfield Elementary School Committee intends to ask constituents for about 3 percent more money for this year’s budget.

Based on preliminary numbers presented publicly at a recent meeting, the school’s anticipated spending for next year is projected to be a little more than $5.6 million, up 2.5 percent from this year’s $5,472,960 budget that includes state funding. Of that, Deerfield residents would be asked to shoulder $4.7 million, an increase of about $138,000 from $4,588,851 that Deerfield residents funded this year.

“There are a lot of unknowns still at this point,” said Union 38 Business Manager Patti Cavanaugh, noting that numbers could change between now and the annual town meeting later this spring, when residents will vote on a final proposed budget. Officials expect 326 students to attend next year.

One reason for Deerfield’s increased burden is that School Choice money coming from students living in other towns has decreased over the years. Anticipating these decreases, school officials want to change the way staffing is paid for, shifting the financial burden onto the town. Cavanaugh noted that school officials planned ahead last year and made cuts to minimize this year’s increases.

Other expenses that have gone up include $70,519 to pay for a 2.5 percent higher negotiated contract with staff members; $35,047 more to pay teachers who have progressed professionally. Deerfield’s contribution to pay for Union 38’s central offices went up $15,775, in large part because of a newly added food service director. There are also a few staffing changes include an additional three new instructional assistants.

Elsewhere, about $5,000 more is required to pay for sewer, and officials anticipate transportation to cost about 1.8 percent more than it did last year.

Officials also want to replace aging Smartboards in classrooms. To do that, Cavanaugh estimated that about $15,000 will be needed.

Offsetting that cost, “we looked at the electricity costs, the trend, and we think we can reduce that about $15,000,” she noted.

Decreases to this year’s budget include about $20,000 less required to help students with special needs. In addition, the school’s network and software costs “altogether went down $6,402, and again that’s based on percentages and how we’re allocating software,” Cavanaugh said.

As for revenue, school officials expect to receive $423,580 in School Choice funds, down from $553,818 that was received this year.

Over the next few weeks, School Committee members will finalize and vote on a final budget, which will be presented to the town at the 2018 annual town meeting.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo