Sean Mangano and Superintendent Maria Geryk at Four Towns Meeting earlier this month
In addition to the hour or so discussing the Wildwood School project -- and unanimously authorizing a hurried $2,500 survey of all staff and educators in the elementary school system about which expensive school renewal they favor -- the Amherst School Committee also heard a brief report from Business Director Sean Mangano about the state of FY17 budget (which starts July 1st).
Interestingly the elementary budget is in almost the exact same boat as the four town Regional system (and neither of them are taking on water): At the Four Towns Meeting earlier this month he pegged the Regional level services budget at a $460,000 deficit and he told the Amherst School Committee the elementary budget is currently $480,000 in the hole.
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According to Mr. Mangano:
"As I mentioned last night, the three drivers of the budget increase are three more classrooms than anticipated, steps/colas for all staff, and an increase in the net charter assessment. Each town department was allocated a 2.5% increase which equates to $546,746 for the elementary school.
Since the Town pays charter costs on behalf of the schools, it deducts the increase in charter tuition from our increase. The net charter increase in FY16 is projected to be $282,651 which leaves an allowable increase of $264,095 for the schools.
There are some other adjustments for school choice but the end result is the schools get a 1% increase in their operating budget. Interestingly enough, the large increase in the net charter assessment is driven mostly by declining reimbursements. DESE projects an increase of charter 5 students which is $89,640 of the increase. The other $193,011 is due to insufficient state aid to fund the reimbursements. DESE projects Amherst will get 24% of the total reimbursement.
And lastly, the projected reduction has improved and now stands at $480,000. "
Those damn Charters!