MILLBURY, Mass. — Millbury School Superintendent Susan Hitchcock presented a $19 million budget plan for fiscal year 2014 to the School Committee in the media center of the high school Wednesday night.
The $19,084,286 budget is a 4.9 percent increase over the fiscal year 2013 budget of about $894,847. It includes:
• Contractual obligations of $706,200 for 78.9 percent of the increase;
• Technology hardware/software costing $100,000 for 11.1 percent of the increase;
• Reduction of federal Department of Education grants by $53,700 for 6 percent of the increase;
• A new position at Shaw School costing $48,000 for 5.3 percent of the increase; and
• Transportation contract rise of $29,200 for 3.2 percent of the increase.
The reduction of grants deals with possible sequestration of federal funds due to the fiscal cliff plan put forth by Congress. Although the cliff may now be avoided, the final details have yet to be worked out and may result in the Millbury grant money being slashed by $53,000. Superintendent Hitchcock pointed out the details of this possibility in October.
Also, a technology full-time teacher was deemed necessary at Shaw School. A teacher at Elmwood School spends two periods per day in Shaw. Because of the split time, a total of 300 students in grades 4 and 5 received no technology training.
Again, most of the district’s budget is driven by personnel costs, which total $14,525,272, or 76.1 percent.
Adding $100,000 to the $30,000 technology budget would allow the district to lease or purchase hardware, which is a more cost-effective option for three years and would result in new classroom computers, upgraded and additional computer labs, new teacher computers and a new Computer-Aided Design lab. The district’s hardware and software are “woefully inadequate,” Hitchcock said.
In addition, the district will also request two town warrant articles for the annual Town Meeting. A technology warrant article for $175,000 would be used to replace and upgrade network switches, which are more than 10 years old.
It will also request a 2014 Textbook Adoption Warrant Article to purchase a new mathematics series for grades K-8. A warrant article for this purchase is necessary because the average cost of a mathematics series for nine grade levels is $103,588.
The timeline for the school budget is:
• Jan. 23: Proposed Budget Discussion by School Committee
• Feb. 13: Budget Hearing Notice Published
• Feb. 13: Proposed Budget Discussion by School Committee
• Feb. 27: Public Hearing, School Committee Vote
• March: Presentation to Millbury Finance Committee
• May: Annual Town Meeting