While the Mattapoisett School Committee found the fiscal year 2019 budget to be positive overall, the 2.08% increase needed some significant trimming in order to get there.
Mattapoisett schools Principal Rose Bowman on March 12 suggested, in a subdued tone, that due to a reduction in kindergarten enrollment, one section could be eliminated.
Bowman said she anticipated 54 students to be enrolled; however, as of that day there were only 47.
“I always anticipate more to come,” said Bowman. “Right now [there are only] seventeen per class with a maximum of eighteen.”
Eliminating one section would also result in the elimination of one kindergarten teacher.
School Business Administrator Patrick Spencer cited an increase of $143,000 from FY18 to the $7,061,000 FY19 budget. Spencer gave “kudos” to Bowman and Director of Student Services Mike Nelson for their diligence on the budget and noted that the budget would include two full-time school nurses, one for each of the schools. One nurse currently floats between the two schools.
Additionally, custodial services have been outsourced, Spencer said, which is a further savings within the budget.
Superintendent Doug White reminded the committee that a public hearing would ensue for both the budget and the district’s participation on School Choice during the next meeting.
In other matters, during school security talks, School Committee Chairman Rachel Westgate expressed her appreciation for Bowman’s and White’s response after the Parkland, Florida tragedy on February 14, saying, “You have the interest of the kids at heart.” She added that the district and towns are doing what needs to be done to keep students safe.
The Town of Mattapoisett has already approved funding for a secured entry vestibule at each school that visitors will have to stop in before entering.
Cameras will also be installed in buildings and hallways, and ALICE – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate – training will increase to three times annually. Bowman, noting that all situations are unique, said it requires a “…fluid decision making process … [that] is not nailed down.”
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett School Committee is scheduled for April 23 at 6:30 pm at Center School.
Mattapoisett School Committee
By Sarah French Storer