FY 2017 School Budget Public Hearing 1/19
& Run for Town Meeting
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It's school budget time! 

J anuary is budget season in towns across Massachusetts and Needham is no exception.  Read below for more information about the proposed school budget specifically and the budget process generally.

Your input on the budget is valuable and welcome. The Needham community will have an opportunity to weigh in on this year's budget at the School Committee's Public Budget Hearing tomorrow, January 19th, at 7:00pm.

We encourage you to attend this meeting to learn more and share your thoughts with School Committee. If you are unable to attend, you can email your comments to School Committee at [email protected].
1/18/16: In This Issue
Superintendent's Budget Request
Minuteman News
Run for Town Meeting!
The Budget Process
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Superintendent's Budget Request
On December 5th, Superintendent Gutekanst presented his FY17 operating budget request to School Committee (for the school year starting in July 2016). This request calls for an operating budget of $64,938,879 million, a 5.62% increase over this year's budget.
Next year's budget request includes: 
  • Contractual Increases -- $1.5 million.
  • Level Service -- $1.9 million (amount needed to provide the same level of service students currently receive).
  • Program Improvements -- $43,718.
Included in this budget request is the addition of 14.01 full time teacher positions (FTEs) to meet elementary & secondary enrollment and special education needs at all levels.   Full text of the Superintendent's Budget Request is available here and a link to the full budget is available on the Needham Public School's home page here.

Tomorrow, Tuesday January 19th, the School Committee will review the budget proposal.  The public is encouraged to comment on the budget beginning at 7pm.  On Wednesday January 20th, the Finance Committee will review the school budget.  Citizens are welcome to briefly address the committee at 7pm.

Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School
The Minuteman District School Committee has asked the 16 communities in the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District to approve a series of amendments to the Regional Agreement that governs the District.   Under the existing Regional Agreement, all 16 towns must approve all changes to the Agreement. The District was incorporated in 1970 and the last change to the District Agreement was approved in 1980. 
This new version, endorsed by the Minuteman District School Committee on December 21, 2015, incorporates a series of changes proposed by a working group of Selectmen representing each of the current 16 members.
Selectmen Dan Matthews and Marianne Cooley represented Needham in this working group. 
Among other things, the new Regional Agreement uses a four-year rolling average of enrollment for assessing costs, streamlines the process for withdrawal by member towns, provides for a minimum charge to member towns for capital costs, and requires out-of-district communities to pay an equitable share of any capital costs associated with a Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) project.
The Selectmen have called a Special Town Meeting for Wednesday, February 10 and requests approval of the agreement by Town Meeting.  More information will be available on the town website later this week.
Run for Town Meeting!
Have you considered running for Town Meeting?  With many school projects over the next 5 years, parents and family members can support Needham schools and the town as a Town Meeting Member.  Find out more about the role in this video   http://www.lwv-needham.org/.

Nomination Papers for Town Meeting Members are now available in the Town Clerk's Office.  New Town Meeting Member candidates must obtain at least 10 valid signatures of registered voters in their precinct.  For more information, please visit the Town Clerk's website.  
The Budget Process
Have you ever wondered how schools plan their spending?  School budgeting is a long and complex process which takes over 6 months to complete.  Below is an overview of the school budget process in Needham.

Needham school administrators meet with principals and department heads to discuss needs.

Needham school administrators work alongside Town Departments to understand how school finances fit within the larger context of Needham's resources.  
Early December
The Superintendent presents a preliminary budget request to the School Committee. 

December and January
School officials and town boards meet repeatedly to finalize a budget.    

Mid - late January
Public Hearing on the School Budget (this year 1/19)  and the Finance Committee reviews the budget (this year 1/20).
Late January
The School Committee and the Board of Selectmen vote on the final budget (this year 1/26).

Town Meeting votes on the town budget.
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