Wenham Town Meeting, this Saturday, May 7, 1 p.m. at Buker
Hamilton Town Meeting, Sat., May 14, 9 a.m., High School

This is your only chance to vote on this school budget.
You have to be present at town meeting to vote.

Top 12 Things You Need to Know about the FY2012 School Budget

  • The schools are asking for a 0% increase in funding from the towns. This has never happened before — there has always been some increase, however small.
  • The school district’s proposed budget does not raise taxes in either town. In both towns, there are no proposed layoffs and no cuts to police, fire, library or other major services.
  • Even so, town selectmen are not happy with a 0% increase. They say the school district didn’t spend all its money from this year, and they want to cut $500,000 from next year’s budget.
  • It’s too early to say how the schools will absorb this cut if it passes. They may elect to use more of their Excess and Deficiency (E&D) fund, but the school committee also says it cannot rule out having to cut services or teachers if $500,000 (or more) is taken out of the budget.
  • All sides agree that the following year — fiscal year 2013 — is of great worry. The 2012 budget we are voting on now has been balanced using several one-time sources of funds that will be gone next year.
  • The FY 2013 budget gap could be quite large — more than $1M, perhaps significantly more — which would almost certainly require deep cuts to teachers and services.
  • Given that looming “cliff,” a majority of the school committee wants to hang onto the $500,000 as a safeguard against unexpected expenses.
  • Some (not all) town officials have said they will support a higher school budget appropriation next year if it’s necessary, but that they want $500,000 from this year’s budget, regardless.
  • Now the matter goes before the voters at town meeting. Wenham’s town meeting is first — this Saturday, May 7, 1 p.m. at Buker. Hamilton is Sat., May 14, at 9 a.m. at the high school.
  • This is your only chance to vote for this school budget. You have to be present at town meeting to vote.
  • There will be drop-off babysitting both days. You are legally allowed to come in late or leave early to attend to family obligations. But you must be present when the school budget is taken up in order to vote.
  • To track the progress of the meeting on your smartphone or iPad, follow us on Twitter @hwsos. (You don’t need to have a Twitter account to follow along: just to go http://twitter.com/hwsos and keep refreshing the page!)

 

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