Superintendent's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Budget Information'

Bedford School Committee Votes FY 2012 Budget

January 19th, 2011 · 2 Comments

The January 18th meeting of the Bedford School Committee included continued discussion of the FY 2012 Budget with the School Committee approving a budget in the amount of $32,828,380 representing a 2.69% increase over FY2011.  With fixed expenses in Special Education and ERI/SLBB totaling $788,950, the budget to budget increase for all the remaining budget line items is $71,295.  In order to achieve this budget, the Committee cut the following  positions and accounts from the Superintendent’s Budget:

Collective Bargaining Reserves

2 (.5)  Special Education Secretaries

1 (.5)  Custodian

2 Teaching Assistants

1 Grade 3 Teacher

1 ELL Coordinator

50% Computer Replacement Budget

Virtual High School

New Textbooks

50%  Custodial Leave coverage

The approval of a School Committee Budget reflects the position of the Committee at this time and should not be interpreted as a “final action” on this matter.   This vote represents the “next step” in the budget process, a step that leads to  the presentation of the School Committee’s Budget to the Finance Committee.   The approved budget will be presented to the Finance Committee on Thursday, January 20th at 7:30 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Room at Town Hall.

Discussion of the budget and available revenue sources will continue in the coming weeks as all parties move towards consensus on this matter.

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Bedford School Committee Begins Budget Reduction Process for FY 2012

January 12th, 2011 · 8 Comments

The January 11th meeting of the Bedford School Committee focused on consideration of a prioritized list of budget cuts for FY 2012.  The proposed cuts are in response to the Finance Committee’s Guideline Budget which reflects a $2.1 million reduction from the Superintendent’s Budget proposal and a $500,000 reduction from the current FY 2011 Budget.

After much discussion the School Committee reached consensus on the following budget reductions:

Cuts with School Committee Consensus (not yet a vote)

Total Reduction:  $1019,379:

  1. Custodial Supplies
  2. Custodial Contract Services
  3. Maintenance Contract Services
  4. Textbooks
  5. Collective Bargaining Reserve
  6. ELL Coordinator (will be replaced by ELL Teaching Position)
  7. Grade 3 Teacher (one year cut to reflect smaller incoming class)
  8. SPED Out of District Tuitions
  9. 50% of  Computer Replacement budget
  10. 2 (.5) School-based Special Education  Secretaries (Remaining (1.0) position will be centralized to service 4 schools)
  11. SPED Summer IEP Meetings (If necessary, will be convened by Director or Principal)
  12. Mediation Stipend (function will be assumed by high school assistant principal)
  13. Virtual High School
  14. Independent Evaluation budget for  SPED (reduce request)
  15. Utility Savings
  16. Eliminate all  high school buses combining BHS and JGMS on the same Bus Routes (pending approval of new Start and End Times)
  17. Lane (.5) Custodian
  18. Lane (.8) (.2) EA
  19. 50% Custodian Leave Coverage (Overtime for school day substitutes)
  20. BHS  (1.3) Teaching Assistants
  21. JGMS (2 ) Teaching Assistants
  22. BHS  (.2) Special Education Teacher
  23. Student Summer Custodial Help
  24. Lane (1) Teaching Assistant
  25. Davis 1.5 Teaching Assistants
  26. Late Bus for JGMS and BHS

As the clock approached midnight, the Committee began a discussion of the next cut that reduces  Athletics and Extracurricular Activities budget by $200,000. That discussion will continue on January 18th and include a consideration of user fees.

If you are interested in viewing all of the budget presentations that preceded this discussion, click here:

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Uncategorized

Budget Process Update

January 5th, 2011 · No Comments

The January 4th meeting of the Bedford School Committee featured significant community participation with approximately 180 attendees in the Bedford High School auditorium.  The meeting included a review of the $1.6 million in proposed reductions to the Superintendent’s Maintenance of Services Budget for FY 2012 and a first presentation of the additional $500,000 in cuts needed to meet the Finance Committee Guideline Budget.  School Committee Chairman Brad Hafer reviewed the critical milestones in the budget process before inviting attendees to provide input as part of  the “public comment” agenda item.

Next steps in the process include administrative prioritization of the $2.1 million in cuts, School Committee discussion on January 11th and a School Committee vote on January 18th.  The School Committee Budget will then be presented to the Finance Committee on January 20th.

To view the presentation, click here:

Tags: Budget Information

Presentation of Proposed Cuts to Athletic and Extracurricular Programs for FY 2012

December 15th, 2010 · 5 Comments

The December 14th  School Committee session was a somber, pre-holiday meeting that focused on the proposed Athletic Program and Extracurricular Program cuts for FY 2012 which total $200,000.   These cuts are part of the $1.6 million reduction to the FY 2012 Budget first presented to the Bedford School Committee on December 7th.  To review the detail of the cuts, click here:

The final $500K in cuts will be discussed on January 4th.  The proposed cuts are in response to the Finance Committee’s Budget Guideline which reduces the Superintendent’s FY 2012  Maintenance of Services Budget by $2.1 million.

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent

FY 2012 Level Funded Budget Presented to the Bedford School Committee

December 8th, 2010 · No Comments

The December 7th meeting of the Bedford School Committee included the Superintendent’s recommendations for how we would achieve a level funded FY 2012 Budget.  The proposal represents a $1.6 million reduction from the Maintenance of Services budget presented on November 3oth.  Targeted reductions include 20.7 positions across the system, the entire budget for computer replacement, and a $200,000 reduction in funding for athletics and extracurricular programs.

To view the presentation, click here:

Budget discussions will continue at the December 14th meeting of the School Committee.  At that meeting, we will detail the impact of the $200,000 reduction to the Athletic/Extracurricular programs.

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning

Presentation of FY2012 Budget for the Bedford Public Schools

December 1st, 2010 · 2 Comments

The FY 2012 Budget for the Bedford Public Schools was presented at the November 3oth meeting of the Bedford School Committee.  The Superintendent’s Budget proposal represents a “maintenance of services” request with a 5.13%  increase from FY 2011.  Staffing additions include an English Language Learner’s (ELL) teaching position designed to meet the needs of a growing population and a (.5) Assistant Principal for Lane School.

This presentation represents the first step in the budget process.  The Bedford School Committee will continue its examination of the budget on December 7th when we will present a “level funded” budget representing a reduction of $1.6 million from the “maintenance of services” budget.

To view the PowerPoint presentation, click here:

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Presentation on Space Planning Study to Special Town Meeting

November 9th, 2010 · No Comments

Last evening I had the opportunity to provide Special Town Meeting with an update on our Space Planning Study and Enrollment Study, efforts that were conducted during the 2009-2010 school year.  Here are the core findings that I shared with STM:

  1. Enrollment Trends:  Growth in enrollment is expected to continue, but only at modest rates. The 2% plus increases in 2008 and 2009 appear to be atypical.
  2. Program Needs: The study revealed that the real driver of space constraints/future needs is the changing student population and program needs that differ today from when these buildings were designed.
  3. Short Term Solutions:  Some quick-fix re-purposing and re- configuration plans have been identified and are being implemented to alleviate some capacity constraints.
  4. Further Study: Needed to ensure that our facilities meet the needs of Bedford’s evolving student population.
At this juncture we have developed a three phase  plan to respond to the space needs.  Here’s a quick summary of the phases:
Phase I: Summer 2010
  1. Room reassignments and minor renovations. Most constraints have been addressed internally
  2. Some undesirable compromises have been made at the middle school including:
  • Multipurpose Room (divided into 2 classrooms)
  • Special Education Classroom (created in library office area)
  • Foreign Language assigned to Foods Lab
  • Classes assigned to auditorium and cafeteria
Phase II: Completed over 3 years (Summers 2011 – 2013)
  • More extensive renovations and room reassignments.
Phase III:  Starting in 2014
  • Complete Feasibility Study required to assess needs and proposed solutions.
  • Further renovations and consideration for new construction at Davis, Lane and JGMS.

As part of  further study, we will request funding for a “Feasibility Study” at the 2011 Annual Town Meeting.

To view both the Space Planning Study and Enrollment Study, click here:

Tags: Budget Information · Parent · Teaching and Learning · Uncategorized

Looking Forward with Commissioner Chester

November 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Last week I had the opportunity to hear Commissioner Mitchell Chester highlight some of the key initiatives of the Department of Elementary and Secondary  Education (DESE) at the annual joint conference of the Massachusetts  Association of School Committees and the Massachusetts  Association of School Superintendents.  In his remarks, the Commissioner stressed the need for school leaders to be creative as we develop budgets for 2011-2012 where we will face unprecedented fiscal challenges.    In addition to his focus on finances, he  called attention to the “Achievement Gap Bill” which represents one of Governor Patrick’s key educational initiatives.

Finally, he noted that he is interested in increasing the implementation of online learning.  In this area he cited the Rocket Ship Schools on the West Coast and the School of One Project in New York.  He asked us to think about how we might use online learning opportunities  to configure our schools differently providing  more flexibility.

In Bedford the Commissioner’s goals are reflective of our district goals as we continue our  efforts to reduce the Achievement Gap and to develop a budget that reduces costs by changing the way we deliver services.

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent

Instructional Technology: Using Pilot Programs to Inform Decisions

October 10th, 2010 · No Comments

As we begin discussion of the Capital Budget requests for FY2012, one of the priorities under consideration is a request for funding to pilot 1:1 Classrooms at Lane, JGMS and BHS, an initiative designed to equip students in those classrooms with  netbooks  or laptops.   At Lane School we are currently piloting our first  1:1 pilot using netbooks  in one grade 3 classroom.  In 2011-2012, we hope to add an additional classroom to Lane School and begin a classroom pilot at both the middle and high schools.   The “pilot classroom” model will enable us us to  gather  local data on what works best for improving student learning and enhancing instructional practices.

The move towards 1:1 computing is growing in K-12 classrooms.  In Bedford we have used the pilot model to inform our decisions about investments in emerging technologies.  In 2002,  a grant enabled us to pilot our first SmartBoard at Bedford High School.  That pilot has since translated into this powerful piece of technology transforming teaching in all of our classrooms at both the high school and middle school.

If you are interested in learning more about this growing trend in education, here’s a link to a recent article on this subject:

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Digital Learners · Parent

Bedford School Committee Approves Budget for FY2011

February 10th, 2010 · No Comments

I am pleased to report that  the Finance Committee voted to increase our budget guideline by $225,000  on  Saturday, February 6th.  That vote resulted in the difference  between  the Finance Committee guideline and  the School Committee vote on January 26th being reduced to $129,780.   At its meeting of February 9th,  the School Committee voted to reduce the budget by $129,780 bringing  it into line with the Finance Committee’s vote.  To reach that number, the School Committee added to its lengthy  list of previously approved budget cuts making  reductions in the following line items:

  1. General Supplies
  2. Out of District Special Education
  3. Computers (50% of our request)

While the reductions were absolutely necessary, the reality is that  the supply accounts will be funded at FY2002 levels.  That will place a strain on resources throughout the system    Similarly, the reduction in computer purchases will create constraints in our ability to migrate and replace aging machines.  The  material and equipment reductions follow significant personnel cuts that were already approved in two staffing categories:  teaching assistants and administrative staff.

I am confident that as a system we will make this work and am appreciative for all the work the Finance Committee invested to bring us to this point. The collaboration between and among all the Boards in Bedford enables all parties to come together and reach consensus in challenging  financial times.

The final step in the budget approval process will be the vote of Annual Town Meeting in March.

Tags: Budget Information · Community