Reductions to the Sharon School Preliminary Budget for fiscal year 2015 will likely be needed to hit the dollar amount set by the town’s priorities committee.
Discussed at this week’s school committee meeting, the preliminary budget features an increase of 4.02 percent, or about $1.5 million compared to last year. The priorities committee however gave the school district a 2.38 percent increase as they have for every department in town.
The preliminary increase from the priority committee, which is consistent with past years, is likely final pending a last-minute change.
“Unless there’s new pots of money found I can’t imagine that’s going to change dramatically,” School Committee member and priority committee Chair Laura Salomons said.
According to Superintendent Timothy Farmer, a two percent increase is needed just to cover the increases for staff salaries.
“We have to be more and more creative each year to try to provide the same level of support and quality as the previous year,” Farmer said.
Proposed reductions includes a realignment of the elementary school music program which would place all the music teachers at the same school at the same time, cutting three elementary permanent substitute teachers, a decrease in cafeteria duty stipends at the high school, $30,000 in a modest reduction in teaching time across multiple high school departments, and a $100,000 decease for out-of-district tuition.
“No one around the table is proposing that these things be cut. However, if we live within that priority dollar amount, there will need to be hard decisions made,” Farmer said.
The preliminary budget will be presented again in a public forum on Jan. 22 before the school committee votes on Feb. 5.