Friday, April 1, 2016

Gorham Schools Proposed FY 17 Budget Summary

Gorham School Department
Proposed FY 17 Budget Summary

Before we get into the “dollars and cents” of the proposed FY 17 Budget, I felt it would be important to give everyone a sense of what the process to get to this point has been thus far so that you can see just how much time, dedication, and effort has been put in by the staff, by the leadership team, and by the School Committee to get to this proposed budget.

What’s Been Done:
What’s Left To Be Done:
·       September – November, 2015 Reviewed and discussed budget dev. Timeline with School Committee (SC), Finance Committee, and District Leadership Team (DLT)
·       November, 2015 – SC and DLT “Dine and Discuss” event held and individual school and programs began budget development processes with their staff.
·       December, 2015 – Superintendent worked with DLT and SC Finance Committee to establish district budget priorities for FY 17.  School budgets were due to Superintendent Dec. 11 and Program Budgets were due Dec. 18.
·       January, 2016 – Superintendent met multiple times individually with each principal and program director to review budget requests line by line.  A Prioritized list of “new initiatives” was created with input from DLT.
·       February, 2016 – Superintendent created the 1st “Status Quo” * budget and the 1st “Superintendent’s Proposed Budget”.  Superintendent and DLT presented these proposed budgets to the SC on Feb. 22 and Feb. 29.
·       March, 2016 – Superintendent, DLT and School Committee met for THREE budget workshop meetings held on March 14, 21, and 30 to review the proposed budget and to make changes as necessary.

*”status quo” budget is a budget developed to show what the approximate cost of operation of the schools would be in FY 17 to run the SAME programs as FY 16.  This budget is used as a reference point only.
·       April 13, 2016 – Final presentation of the Proposed FY 17 Budget will be made to the School Committee.  Public comment will be accepted.  School Committee will vote to accept the proposed FY 17 Budget (with or without changes).
·       May 17, 2016 – Budget Workshop between School Committee and Town Council to review proposed FY 17 budget and adjust as necessary.
·       June 7, 2016 – Town Council Meeting, public hearing on FY 17 Municipal Budget (including School Budget) and Town Council Vote to accept the proposed FY 17 Budget (with or without changes).
·       June 14, 2016 – Public School Budget Validation Referendum on FY 17 proposed School Budget.

As you can see from the chart outlined above, there’s been a lot of hard work that has gone into the development of this proposed budget thus far.  The process has involved many “ups” and “downs” during our conversations.  There have been lots of hard questions asked, and data shared, all with the ultimate goal of developing a budget that attempts to balance the needs of educating our growing student population, with the needs of the taxpayers who support our school system.

Below are some highlights of some of our budget conversations and where we wound up reducing costs, as well as adding costs in several ways.  I hope you can see that, with the exception of our CIPS request, many of the increases that were allowed to remain in the budget were offset with decreases.

Reductions Found in the FY 17 Proposed Budget (highlights only):

Copy/Print Management (due to new contract)                          -$20,000.00
Workers Compensation Costs (due to focus on prevention) -$50,188.00
Unemployment Costs                                                                  -$13,405.00
Retirement Stipends                                                                    -$25,128.00
Jump Start Program Stipends                                                      -$8,000.00
Professional Course Reimbursements                                         -$21,600.00
Special Education Legal Lines                                                    -$14,786.00
Out of District Placement Costs                                                  -$105,000.00
Removal of Contingency                                                             -$60,000.00
Gas/Diesel Costs                                                                         -$86,250.00
Reduction of LP Gas                                                                   -$25,000.00
Reduction of Bus Lease Costs                                                    -$35,940.00
Reduction of WRVC and PATHS assessments -$5,928.00
Reduction of Telephone and Computer Equipment                    -$16,000.00

Total Reductions                                                                            -$487,225.00

“Additions” Found in the FY 17 Proposed Budget (highlights only):

Increased rate of Pay for Substitutes                                         +$44,789.00
Transportation Office Clerical Asst. & PD days increase +$17,191.00
Increased Central Office Support Staff (accountant) +$67,500.00
Addition of .3 Elem. Music Teacher                                         +$21,000.00
Addition of .6 Elem. Library/Media Specialist +$42,000.00
Addition of K-5 Library Book Replacements                          +$4,000.00
Purchase of Pilot Pro-Social Curriculum Gr. K-5                    +$5,000.00
Addition of Part Time MS Athletic Trainer                             +$9,600.00
Purchase of Chrome Books (35 as a pilot at K-5 level) +$9,000.00
Phase II of Converting Ed. Tech. II’s to III’s                           +$8,500.00
Change to Title II PD Funds & Positions                                +$8,079.00
GHS New Software                                                                +$8,045.00
GHS Textbooks (American Studies and Science)                    +$28,600.00
Grades 3-5 “Making Meaning” Reading Curriculum              +17,889.00
Addition of 1 3rd Gr. Teacher at Village (enrollment)             +$70,000.00
Addition of 1 K Teacher at Great Falls (enrollment) +$70,000.00
Increase in Capital Improvement Program (CIPS)                  +$560,000.00

Total Additions                                                                           +$991,193.00

Many of our overall reductions were made possible by good management techniques that were able to decrease our Worker’s Comp and Unemployment rates significantly.  Additionally, because we focus on improved health and wellness with our staff, our insurance rates were actually able to hold steady with a 0% increase.  Both of these major factors are saving our community tremendous amounts of potential employer related costs.

Our overall expenditure increases were mostly due to either the Capital Improvement Plan (CIPS) increase to address some much-needed capital renovations and maintenance for our buildings or they were due to our need to address our growing student populations.  The latter is a good problem to have as next year we will receive additional revenue for these students from the state through the EPS funding formula.

In summary, the proposed FY 17 Budget is $36,491,178.00, which represents an overall expenditure increase of $1,416,647.00 or 4.04%.

On the Revenue side (assuming an overall value increase of $10 million dollars), this proposed budget is expected to increase the mil by an additional .87 cents of 8.37% with a projected actual mil rate of 11.28.

If members of the public wish to voice your opinions on this proposed budget, we would encourage your attendance at either the April 13 School Committee meeting when the School Committee will be voting to approve the proposed budget, or you may also attend the planned June 7 Town Council Public hearing.  Also, the “final vote” will be made by the community as a whole during the planned June 14th Budget Validation Referendum.

That was a lot of information to share, without the benefit of all the background conversations that have gone into this budget, so I suspect you will have questions.  I know that members of our School Committee, and I are always open to questions and communications.  Please feel free to reach out to me via email at or to your individual School Committee Members.  You can find their contact information by going to our website:

We look forward to your future participation in these very important discussions.