School Board Budget Goals:

  • Maintaining and improving the high quality of education for every student.
  • Careful examination of line items and consideration of the success and effectiveness of the expenditures in order to provide a fiscally responsible budget.
  • Clear and continual communication throughout the budget process.
 
Budget Update #1
January 22, Cape Elizabeth School Board Workshop
 
At the Cape Elizabeth School Board Workshop on January 22, 2019, the Board discussed and finalized their FY20 budget goals.  Throughout the budget process the Board will make decisions regarding the budget through the lens of the three following goals:
 
  1. Maintaining and improving the high quality of education for every student.
  2. Careful examination of line items, and consideration of the success and effectiveness of the expenditures in order to provide a fiscally responsible budget.
  3. Clear and continual communication throughout the budget process.
 
Administrators have been asked to develop a budget that would allow them to continue to offer high quality programming to their students.  Following this development, they met individually with Business Manager, Catherine Messmer and I to review their requests. These reviews were structured around questions such as:
 
How many students are currently enrolled in each grade/class?
What are the staffing needs for your school?
What staff changes are you anticipating such as retirements, resignations, returns from leave, etc.?
What programs are working well? What programs should be dropped, added, or changed?
What, specifically, are your supply and equipment needs for FY20?
What are your facility and technology needs for FY20?
 
These discussions often resulted in changes in the Original Request Budget.  For example, after examining the enrollment and staffing in Pond Cove Elementary School, we determined that with 100 students currently enrolled in 3rd grade, we do not need six- 4th grade teachers. This will result in a reduction of staff, unless we have an influx of 4th grade students.  
 
After making these changes, the Original Request (expenditure) budget reflects an increase of 7% over FY19.  Please realize that we will continually examine this budget and adjust in order to develop the most fiscally responsible budget. Much work on the budget will be done between now and the final budget that the Board will adopt.
 
This increase does not include the Facilities Needs Assessment that was recommended to the Board as a result of the four meetings of the Facility Needs Assessment Committee that occurred this fall.
 
The Board discussed the implications of including the Facilities Needs Assessment in the FY20 School Budget ($189,060).  They will vote on whether or not to include this assessment at the February 12, 2019 School Board Business Meeting.
 
Also included in the FY20 Original Request Budget is the increase in salaries and benefits for the employees of the Cape Elizabeth School Department.  Using the existing staff, and rolling up salaries and benefits in alignment with the current negotiated agreement, the increase to the budget reflects a 4.3% increase over last year.  As we progress through the budget development process, we will examine reductions, retirements, and resignations that occur and adjust staff salary and benefit lines accordingly.
 
The Board discussed additional items that will impact the budget such as the possible change to an online Latin program, the addition of a budget line to provide for the replacement of Food Service equipment ($5,000) and one for repairs ($2,000), and ideas for increasing the safety at the entrances of Pond Cove Elementary School and Cape Elizabeth Middle School.
 
The School Board budget has two distinct parts, expenditures (the above discussion) and revenues.  There are many missing pieces to the revenue budget to date, including state subsidy and the percentage of increase in our health insurance.  By law, we would expect to receive the ED279, our state subsidy report, by February 1. However, we are hearing that the Governor’s budget has been pushed out a week, so we are not expecting to receive our report until after February 8. We are not usually notified about the increases to health insurance until the first week in April.  Included in the Original Request Budget at this time is a 10% increase as an estimate of our increase. Hopefully, the increase will be less. We will be eagerly awaiting these two important pieces of information in order to determine the impact on our citizens.
 
Administrators will be presenting their budgets at the extended budget meeting on January 29, 2019 from 5:00 to 8:30 in Council Chambers at Town Hall.  I urge citizens to attend this and every budget meeting as the Cape Elizabeth School Board and administrators work to develop a budget that meets their agreed upon goals.  There will be an opportunity for citizens to address the Board regarding the budget at each budget meeting. In addition, these meetings will be available for viewing as links on our website.  Please make every effort to attend.
 
Sincerely,
 
Donna H. Wolfrom