School Committee Approves 2016-2017 District Budget

On Monday, March 28, the Lenox School Committee, by a 6-1 vote, approved a revised version of the Preliminary 2016-2017 Budget.

The original FY17 Budget assumed a reduction of one section of kindergarten and increased enrollment at the middle and high school level. The original and revised budgets provide for the continuation of all current programming and additional teacher hours at the middle and high school to cover needs in reading and humanities instruction. Additionally, the 2016-2017 Budget supports the renewal of the elementary math program GoMath! and the acquisition of a new math program that will span the middle school grades of 6, 7, and 8.

The approved Budget restores the section of Kindergarten. To do this, the district will apply $35,000 more in revenue, restructure projected obligations for a major curriculum purchase and energy purchases, and add $18,000 to our request from the town. The School Committee made the decision to restore the Kindergarten section amidst several concerns; but mainly that estimated enrollment of residents and Choice siblings would put 2 classes right at optimum size. There would be little capacity to accommodate new students during the summer, and last year saw significant Kindergarten resident enrollment after May 1st, into the summer, and into this school year.

The approved Preliminary Budget carries an increase of 1.0% over the current year’s total net operating budget. After factoring in health insurance increases for school employees, the total increase in appropriation over last year is about 3.7%.

To learn more about the FY17 School District Budget go to the district page of our website: www.lenoxps.org, click on “Local Governance,” and the ‘budget’ tab. There you’ll find the complete FY17 Preliminary Budget with related presentations, and a revision of the 2016-2017 Budget Crosswalk, a numerical breakdown of all expenses and revenues, updated to reflect revisions of March 28. If you have questions about our budget, please call me at 637-5550 or drop me an e-mail at tlee@lenoxps.org. I’m happy to explain and answer questions.

The final step in the annual budget process is the public vote at Town Meeting on May 5. We appreciate community support as we work to sustain a great public school system.

TL