FY20 Budget Update #2

January 31, 2019

Throughout the FY20 School Budget Process the Cape Elizabeth School Board remains dedicated to the following 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.

School district budget work involves planning for two components of the budget, expenditures and revenues.  Administrators have been working on their FY20 Original Request Budgets. These budgets are strictly expenditure budgets. Earlier this week we received word from the Department of Education that our ED279 (state subsidy reports) would not arrive until February 15, 2019.  These reports represent a large portion of the revenue side of the budget. This shift in arrival will delay our work on planning for district revenues and the impact of our budget on the taxpayers.

Administrators shared highlights from their expenditure budgets at the January 29, 2019 School Budget Workshop.  The summary Original Request Budgets from their departments are available on the website under FY 2019-2020 Budget Information.  In addition, evaluations of new staffing positions and programs in the FY19 budget have been published, as well as proposals for new programs and staff for FY20.

Included in the FY20 Original Request Budget are staff salaries and benefits. If you refer to the pie chart that is posted on the budget website you will notice that typically salaries and benefits comprise 85% of the budget.  Salaries are set through the Collective Bargaining Agreements between the School Board and the staff. The rate of insurance increase is based on experience and is set by the Maine Benefits Trust. We included the estimate of a 10% increase in the FY20 budget.  We should receive our true rate of increase during the first week in April.

Below is a summary of the FY20 Original Request Budget proposals for new staffing, programs, and equipment.

Jason Manjourides, Pond Cove Elementary School Principal, spoke about the needs for additional staff at Pond Cove. He proposed to increase the hours of the health teacher at Pond Cove.  This teacher currently provides instruction for students in grades 2, 3, and 4. Extended hours would provide for health instruction through movement for students in grades K and 1. He also would like to reinstate the position of cafeteria aides (four) who would provide consistent structure for students during lunch.  This would allow teachers time to plan, and provide interventions for students needing additional support. Other proposed positions include an additional educational technician to provide support services for a student with 504 needs, a receptionist to provide “eyes-on” coverage and who would buzz visitors into a secure area at Pond Cove in order to temporarily address much discussed safety issues, and a .5 learning strategist who would work with teachers to provide services such as coordinating the RTI (Response to Intervention) program at Pond Cove.

Troy Eastman, Cape Elizabeth Middle School Principal, spoke about the many services that the additional social worker has provided this year to middle school students as well as teachers. The additional social worker brings with her an in-depth knowledge of executive functioning strategies that have been extremely beneficial to students and staff.  No additional staff or programs are being requested at the middle school, although Mr. Eastman is working to develop plans for a possible experiential learning class that would use the skills of current staff and would require no additional funding. Mr. Eastman’s budget also included funding for new band instruments, funding to continue the rotation to replace classroom furniture, and additional funding for presentations in order to provide background information to students before they participate in the Chewonki experience.

Jeff Shedd, Cape Elizabeth High School Principal, provided data on the average class size that would result from the proposed additional staff at the high school (16.4 students), and on the resulting ratio of students to teachers (13.6:1) and how those figures compare to district Policy IIB. Jeff expressed concern that bringing the ratio to the EPS expectation of 16:1 would increase teacher caseloads to over suggested policy (IIB) guidelines.  Proposed new positions include a .6 FTE literacy teacher to support students with literacy needs, and a .4 FTE computer programming teacher. Additional requests include funding for textbooks and the restoration of funding for the Science Team that was accidentally eliminated in the FY19 budget.

Del Peavey, Director of Special Services, presented a budget that corrects and places certain positions in the appropriate budget lines.  This proposal includes no additional staff. Mr. Peavey reported that we receive an additional $383,000 in funding from Local Entitlement, a federally funded grant that has specific requirements for spending. This grant funds three special education educational technician positions, a social worker position, supplies, technology, audiologist services, and special education software.

Cathy Stankard, Director of Teaching and Learning, proposed a budget that includes additional time for the ELL (English Language Learners) teacher as a result of an increased caseload, funds to support the GT (Gifted and Talented) program, and funding for summer curriculum work and professional development.

Jeff Thorek, Athletic Director,  provided data regarding student enrollment in athletic programs.  Approximately 80% of students at the high school participate in these programs.  Increases in the Athletic Department budget reflect increased costs in charter bus services.  These services are needed if no district buses are available to provide transportation to games and events.  Additional increases reflect an increase in official fees and a 50% contribution toward the purchase of a Gator, a utility vehicle that will be shared with the Facilities Department.  The part-time position of athletic trainer has changed lines in the budget and has been moved from Athletics System District-wide to Professional Services.

Perry Schwarz, Director of Facilities and Transportation, proposed the addition of digital radios for our buses.  At the present time there are some dead spots in our bus communication system that would be corrected with the use of digital radios.  Perry is also including a 50% contribution toward the Gator that will be shared with the Athletic Department. Some of the planned projects in the proposed FY20 budget include entry carpeting, improvements to the playground at Pond Cove, and a new generator to be shared by Pond Cove Elementary School (PCES) and Cape Elizabeth Middle School (CEMS), the installation of an additional sink in the nurse’s office at CEMS, construction of two administrative offices at CEMS, replacement of older unit ventilators at Cape Elizabeth High School (CEHS), repairs to the auditorium stage, continued window replacement, and additional cameras on the first floor of CEHS. Proposed projects with photographs can be viewed on our FY20 budget page under Facilities and Transportation.

Noel Harroff, Director of Technology, presented the proposed technology budget for FY20.  Noel’s FY20 proposal includes replacing CEHS staff devices, replacing 5th grade devices, repurposing CEHS staff devices for PCES, the ELL program, and education technicians.  In addition, the proposal includes replacing a main school router.

The Food Service Department’s request adds a funding line for repairs ($2,000) and for the replacement of aging equipment ($5,000).  In addition it provides for reimbursement of two staff who use their personal cell phones for food service business.

The Superintendent’s office section of the budget includes salaries of staff working in the Superintendent’s Office as well as School Board needs.  This year there is a decrease in one line due to a decrease in the insurance needs of two staff members. Increases reflect rising insurance rates for the School Board and funds for the School Board planning retreat that occur one afternoon in the fall.  

The next School Board FY20 Budget Workshop will be held on February 26, 2019 at 6:30 in the Library and Learning Commons at Cape Elizabeth High School.  There will be time for citizen comments regarding the budget. In addition this workshop will be videotaped and a link will be available on our district FY20 budget website.  Please make every effort to attend this important meeting.

Sincerely,

Donna H. Wolfrom

Superintendent of Schools