Rochester Memorial School officials presented a preliminary budget Thursday for fiscal year 2015, which at this point reflects an increase of $211,529, or about 3.8 percent, over the previous year.
“There’s a lot more work to be done now,” said Superintendent Douglas White, who said that the budget is based on needs at the school for the upcoming school year. It takes into consideration what (is current) as well as what’s needed to offer a high quality education.”
Officials stressed that the budget is a “working document,” and that they’ll continue to work on it in the near future.
White mentioned the fact that they’re currently trying to attract a new school business administrator, and the committee discussed the situation with the school’s adjustment counselor/social worker. Currently, there is only one counselor at the school, though the general consensus is that the school and its children could benefit from gaining another.
“The goal of our student adjustment counselor is to help students overcome the barriers to learning,” said Assistant Principal and former adjustment counselor Charles K. West. “This is not necessarily a sustainable model as it’s currently working. There is a concern.”
Principal Derek Medeiros said that they’d continue to assess the situation with the counselor.
“I think everything in schools is a work in progress,” said Medeiros. “At times it can be extremely difficult to do a lot of our preventative activities. As you all know, the school day brings many challenges. I would like to say I’d like to take a little more time to (take a look at the situation).”
At an earlier meeting of the Board of Selectmen, officials expressed concern that the budgets for Rochester schools would outweigh the available finances that the town would have to spend on education. White and other members of the school committee were adamant about exploring and weighing every option in order to best maximize whatever funds they’re provided with.
“I think it’s really important for us to focus on the budget we need to create,” said Sharon Hartley of the Committee. “It’s hard to do that because of the distractions that are going on—(there are) changes going on in many of the towns’ budgets. (There are) major changes at Old Colony. It’s really hard for any budget to be crystal clear right now.”
In other news, Board Chair Michelle Cusolito announced that she would not be seeking another term as Chair of the Board, which runs out this year.
By Nick Walecka