Written by Matthew A. Piacentini Monday, 01 February 2010 11:31
|North Shore Schools Budget Will Likely Involve Staff Cuts|
In order to gauge public opinion on the 2010-11 North Shore Schools budget, the board of education held a Town Meeting session last week, presenting the facts for next year and taking questions. Interested residents made for a full house at the high school.
Board President Dr. Igor Webb told the audience, “It is very difficult for us to make an accurate judgment about what the community thinks without you telling us.”
Superintendent Dr. Edward Melnick also said that communication would be key. He went through a presentation on what financial realities the budgeting process would take into account this year. The superintendent said that there are several items that go into the budget and a very small percentage of these items are up to the board, most coming from the state and federal government or related to contracts with bargaining units. The small percentage of items that are up to the board, he said, unfortunately relate to the programs and initiatives that make for a “unique” and “special” school district.
The superintendent demonstrated with slides how the state mandates, loss in aid, and bargaining unit contracts are a large percentage of the budget that are not controlled by the board. He said that the goals for planning the budget this year include necessarily addressing these factors while also attempting to maintain the scope of the programs now in effect and providing the best education at a reasonable cost.
He said that this year, the process could be likened to a “puzzle with pieces that don’t fit together. It’s the board’s job to make it fit.”