District Hopes To Restore Positions Cut During Cash Strapped School Year
By: Alex Scofield
Superintendent Edmond W. LaFleur said that he is hoping to restore several valuable library and classroom teacher positions cut during this financially trying school year in the coming year’s budget.
Mr. LaFleur said that, according to the numbers he received from Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino last week, the school district is slated to receive $20.8 million in funding from the town next year, the same amount it received this year.
Mr. LaFleur said this week if the district’s budget were indeed level-funded, he would restore a librarian position that was cut from Bourne High School and librarian assistants who were cut from the James F. Peebles and Bournedale Elementary schools.
Mr. LaFleur added that a teacher who runs a computer-assisted mathematics program at the middle school would be moved back from part time to full time.
Those positions were cut from the budget in December due to a combination of unexpected special education and transportation costs and reductions in state aid.
The district was also forced to make deep cuts to its budget this year due to the nearly $400,000 it needed to repay the town because of overspending in Fiscal Year 2009, which was attributed to accounting errors.
In all, the district has cut more than $1 million from its budget this year.
“All the reductions we made this year were painful, but those cuts we made in the last round affected us the most,” he said. “We’re hoping to be able to bring them back.”
Bourne High School Principal Ronald M. McCarthy said without Gail P. Dooley-Zamaitis the library and media specialist, students have not been able to make the most out of the technological resources found in the school’s library.
Without a certified librarian, the school is also at risk of losing its accreditation from the New England Association Schools and Colleges.
Mr. LaFleur added that, at this point, there were no layoffs planned for the coming year’s budget.
“We’re hoping to keep all the positions we currently have in the schools,” he said.
Mr. LaFleur said if the district were to receive a level-funded budget, he would also restore funding cut from the district’s textbook line item.
Mr. LaFleur said though it was a positive step to be able to restore the positions lost due to this year’s budget cuts, the district would not be able to come close to restoring any number of the positions or programs it had to remove from the budget before the school year began.
“We’ve had to cut a lot of positions over the last few years,” he said. “It’s going to take several years for us to be able to get those positions back.”
However, he cautioned that it was still too early in the budgeting process to promise that no layoffs would be required or that cut positions would be brought back.
He said that though he is confident in new Manager of Business Services Edward Donoghue’s ability to accurately monitor the budget, the coming year would not be without its own surprises.
“The governor’s budget is a moving target,” Mr. LaFleur said.
He added that there would likely be more emergency cuts in state aid next year, if the revenue projections he has been hearing are true.
“Everything I have heard from the state so far has been bleak,” he said.
The public will get its first look at the schools budget next week, Mr. LaFleur said.
The Bourne School Budget Subcommittee will meet on Monday, February 1, at 6 PM in the Bourne School Administration Building to review a rough draft of the district’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
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