School Superintendent pushes back on Town Council
6.8% increase not enough to operate without cutting programs claims Entwistle
This letter from School Superintendent George Entwistle was recently sent to Scarborough parents and staff
Budget Update from the Superintendent
June 22, 2015
Dear Scarborough Parents and Staff-
At the Town Council meeting last night (Wednesday, June 17, 2015), it was acknowledged that the School Board had produced a no-frills, level services, school budget for 2015-2016. Unfortunately, that budget was defeated in the June 9th referendum. The Town Council’s response to the vote was to reduce next year’s operating budget by an additional $500,000 (they had previously reduced the budget by $90,000).
The public heard from Council Members on the 17th that the School Board and School Department should be able to find efficiencies that will allow us to make this reduction of $500,000 without impacting existing services and programs for students. It is important for our staff and parents to know that this will not be the case.
In preparing data for the School Board to consider in advance of what was anticipated to be a less devastating reduction from the Town Council, school leaders were able to identify potential reductions amounting to approximately $250,000. Roughly $200,000 of these reductions, however, would depend upon a fundamental shift in established budgeting practice related to planning for a small amount of fund surplus to accrue during the budget year (to serve as a cushion for any unanticipated expense(s). This change in practice, of course, is not without risk and would create greater dependency on dipping into the Town’s undesignated surplus in the case of an emergency expense. Another $50,000 was identified as potential savings to be generated by a shared-services agreement with Cape Elizabeth for our new Director of School Nutrition.
The remaining $250,000 balance (of the total $500,000 reduction), quite frankly, cannot be accomplished without the loss of programs. While we will protect academic resources that are essential to our core mission of delivering quality K-12 teaching and learning for the children of our community, we will, at the same time, be forced to eliminate other valuable activities and services that are not part of that core. The School Board will work closely with School Leaders to accomplish these reductions in the most student-centered manner.
Despite the arrival of the last day of school for the 2014-2015 school year, I encourage you to stay tuned to these very important budget deliberations. Public meetings will be posted on the school’s webpage (www.scarboroughschools.org). The Town Council will finalize its reduction of the school budget at a public hearing on June 24th (7:00 PM) in Town Hall.
Dr. George Entwistle, Superintendent