Several budgets are being developed to fit various scenarios, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Finance Director Michael Connelly told members of the LSRHS Committee at their Tuesday night meeting, which was attended by dozens of high school teachers, staff members, parents and alumni of the school, who urged the committee to put a priority on cost of living increases for the high school's teachers.
"Our students spend at least seven hours per day surrounded by these teachers," said one parent from Lincoln, who praised the level of dedication and sincere interest in students' futures. A member of the Class of 2011 told anecdotes about teachers who were willing to email her during their summer vacations to help her on her path to college, which she said is off to a good start thanks to the preparation she received at Lincoln-Sudbury.
School Committee Chair Nancy Marshall struck a cordial tone as she reminded the crowd that the specifics of contract negotiations with the Teachers Association cannot be addressed in a public setting, but that she appreciates the support and input from the public during the negotiation process, which is still ongoing.
The Committee issued a statement recently regarding the stalled negotiations to give the town its position on the current status.
Several factors, such as state contributions and pension figures, will affect budget drafts for the upcoming years, Connelly explained. He said one of the drafts being considered is a "partial restore" plan which would bring back some of the positions that were lost under previous budgets. Several School Committee members said they would favor partial restore over level-funding budget drafts, which would not allow for additional staff members.
Superintendent Scott Carpenter said that level funding would be "devastating to the high school" when combined with an expected increase in enrollment in the fall.
"We're not in a place where we can just absorb 52 new students without proportional staffing," Carpenter said, stressing the need to keep class sizes small to benefit both teachers and students.
Connelly, who joined the district as Finance Director in July, reviewed a five-year capital plan, which includes the four major categories of vehicles, equipment, facilities and technology.
Noteworthy items include a $640,000 technology upgrade in Fiscal Year 2014, a $10,700 gym floor refinishing in FY14, conversion of a boiler building to cold storage for $200,000 in FY14, replacement of a 1999 model year building grounds truck for $50,500 in FY15, $8,000 for pottery wheels in FY15 and replacement of lower artificial turf fields in FY16 for $800,000.
The next meeting of the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Committee was set for Nov. 27.