My name is Jim Haff. Around four months ago I was appointed to be the chair of the finance committee. I’ve worked hard with both principals at the middle and high schools and Richard Seaman, director of finance and operations for the Windsor Central Supervisory Union. The total proposed budget for FY18, $11,698,853, which is an increase of 0.6 percent from FY17 budget.
The main drivers of our budget continue to be salaries and benefits. Our health insurance saw an increase of 3.7 percent, from $1,516,792 in FY17 budget to $1,572,839. Many employees switched to a Comp 1200 plan, which is fully paid by the district including all out of pocket expenses, but at the same time has saved the district on the total premium payments. The increase could have been a lot higher than the 3.7 percent.
We’ve increased the tuition for school choice students by 3 percent to $16,480 per student. We’ve added a curriculum director to the budget, which should help set a curriculum for 7-12. At the same time, we’ve increased our technology cost by $16,000 for bringing our Internet to today’s standards.
We’ve had a reduction in equalized pupils, which are in-district student count, by 10.53 students according to the state’s calculation. But at the same time, we have an additional 10 tuition students to make up this difference. At first glance, we were wondering why we were loosing equalized students and gaining tuition students, looking into the data what I see is that we had a few families move out of district to school choice towns and those children are tuitioning back in. On Town Meeting Day in March we have Plymouth currently as a school choice town voting to join our district, which if passed I believe will reverse the above trend.
Just this week, we also discussed our new governor’s proposal for level-funding to FY17. We, as a board, feel that 0.6 percent increase, while adding a curriculum director and the technology, is much needed and a low cost to the budget. Please on Town Meeting Day, vote “yes” for the middle school/high school budget.
Jim Haff, Killington, WUHSMS chair of the finance committee