School Committee Approves FY 16 Budget

At its May meeting, after a public hearing, the School Committee approved the FY '16 budget for the School Department.  The overall proposed school budget for FY '16 is $5,019,356.06. This is a 2% increase from FY '15. Of this amount, $4,182,574.26 would come from local appropriations. This is the figure that is presented at the annual town meeting for approval.

The school district will make up the $836,781.80 difference between the proposed operating budget and local appropriations through several different revenue sources. These include: $614,189 out of school choice receipts; $118,281 out of federal grants; $73,714.80 out of preschool grants and preschool tuition; $20,000 out of the athletic revolving account; and $10,000 from circuit breaker.

In addition, The Town of Hatfield is expected to receive $793,841.00 in Chapter 70 state aid in FY '16. This money has to be used in support of the school system and helps to further reduce the overall cost for the schools to the town.

The school budget is designed to meet all requirements as set forth by Federal, State and Local Mandates. Most non-salary lines were either level funded or slightly decreased while still providing necessary funding for educational programs and professional development. The school budget also reflects the negotiated increases in salaries and in the bus contract. There is some savings in the budget due to some staff that retired with considerable longevity and are being replaced with newer teachers. The budget does contain one new position at the elementary school; a reading and math interventionist. The budget also eliminates two paraprofessional positions; both positions will be eliminated through attrition with no forced reductions.

In addition to the FY '16 operating budget, the School Committee had also requested two capital expenditures for FY '16.  These expenditures were to upgrade the current telephone system and to replace the walk-in freezer at Smith Academy. Neither of these items are being recommended by the Finance Committee at this time and will not be presented at the annual town meeting this year.

The annual town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12 at 7 P.M. in the Sherry A. Webb Gymnasium at Smith Academy.