Dear Newton Community,
Two weeks ago, I presented the initial budget to the School Committee. While we preserved many of the programs and services put in place over the past few years, our budget shortfall prevented us from maintaining our current level of service. Library services and staff were most affected for the 2017-18 school year.
Last night, the Newton School Committee held its public hearing on the FY18 budget. Prior to the public hearing, additional monies were added back into the budget. The cost savings identified were:
- “Health Holiday” - the City announced a “health holiday," which allows a one-time allocation of $1.2 million to the school budget. A “health holiday” occurs when the reserve fund for the City’s health insurance reaches a certain level. Monies typically spent on health care (for a specific time period – two weeks in this case) can be spent in other areas.
- Bus Parking - Through ongoing negotiation, the district has identified $150,000 in cost savings for bus parking.
However, because the budget picture is so challenging this year, we will take the unprecedented step of using a portion of the one-time funding to restore positions. The following positions will be added back into the budget:
2.5 Elementary Library Teachers
2.7 High School Teaching/Library Staff (will be adjusted based upon need once scheduling is complete)
1.0 Day/Middle School (class size)
A portion of the one-time funds will be spent on facilities, technology, and additional reserves. The district is hopeful to restore additional library positions at the middle school level. More information will be shared Thursday.