School Budget Increase Considered Modest

So far, as the budget subcommittee gears up for fiscal year 2019, the Sippican School budget for next year is up just slightly above 2%, as discussed by the Marion School Committee during its January 10 meeting.

School Committee member Kate Houdelette, who is also a member of the budget subcommittee, introduced the 2.19% increase to the committee as “very minor.”

The budget includes the tuition for Bristol County Agricultural High School, for which previously only two students were budgeted to attend. This budget accommodates a third student from Marion who plans to attend Bristol Aggie next year.

Also included in the budget is a .2 position addition to a part-time physical education/health teacher, which would bring the position up to full-time and the total number of full-time physical education/health teachers up to two.

The budget also accommodates a .4 part-time integrated technology teacher position to advance their computer skills in alignment with the standardized testing that is now taken online.

“There are some standards that we have to meet that are already being created in Mattapoisett,” said Sippican School Principal Lyn Rivet.

Business Administrator Patrick Spencer announced the total budget sat currently at $6,058,000, which is up $121,000 from fiscal year 2018.

School Committee Chairman Christine Marcolini thanked Director of Student Services Michael Nelson for his role in reining in the Special Education budget by providing 99% of required services in-house as opposed to out of district.

“That should be a point of pride,” said Marcolini. “That’s great.”

Superintendent Doug White said circuit breaker funds – that is, funds from the Commonwealth that reimburse school districts for special education services in “severe cases of need,” as White put it – will be lower this year than last year.

“The percentage coming back to the district is lower than it has been in the past,” said White. “You should also be aware of that and concerned about that…”

White continued, “It all has to do with what’s happening in Washington [D.C.] and how they’re addressing education funding.”

In other matters, the committee accepted a donation of $30,000 from an anonymous donor.

“On behalf of all the children at Sippican, we say ‘Thank you,’” said Marcolini.

The next meeting of the Marion School Committee is scheduled for February 28 at 6:30 pm at Sippican School.

Marion School Committee

By Jean Perry


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