Hope Elementary School budget goes to voters

Hope School Committee and Town of Hope Budget Committee recommendations are on the ballot
Sun, 07/09/2023 - 11:30am

    HOPE – A special Town Meeting will be held July 13 at 6:30 p.m. to vote on the proposed 2023-24 Hope Elementary School Budget at the Hope Corner Fire Station. Both the School Committee and town of Hope Budget Committee have placed their recommendations on each item on the ballot.

    The Fire Station is located at 475 Camden Road.

    School budget approval is now a two-part process. At Town Meeting, voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on expense categories for K-8 regular education, special education, administration, transportation and more, as well as the amount of revenue to be raised in local taxes. On July 25, a referendum vote will be held on the total budget.

    The first meeting on the school budget would normally have taken place in May, followed by a referendum vote on the total budget at a June town meeting. The vote was delayed, according to Hope School Committee Chair Tim Lock, because the school needs capital improvements, such as a new roof, and the town wanted to know exactly how much money is in the school budget’s undesignated fund before asking voters to expend taxpayer money on those capital improvements.

    Town officials and others wanted to wait until an annual audit was completed on the school budget so the amount of the undesignated fund would be known, according to an open letter from the Select Board to town residents.

    The full warrant for the July 13 Town Meeting can be viewed here

    The following are proposed amounts for each category. The Hope Elementary School Committee voted 4-0 to approve all of the following articles on the warrant. The Town of Hope Budget Committee voted 0 in favor and 4 opposed to Articles 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 14 and 16, and voted 4-0 to approve Articles 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 17.

    Article 1: Regular Instruction: $1,482,412

    Article 2: Special Education - $796,554

    Article 3: Career and Technical Education - $0

    Article 4: Other Instruction - $31,612

    Article 5: Student and Staff Support - $356,068

    Article 6: System Administration - $146,750

    Article 7: School Administration - $226,281

    Article 8: Transportation and Buses - $157,690

    Article 9: Facilities and Maintenance - $285,517

    Article 10: Debt Service - $0

    Article 11: All other expenditures - $0

    Article 12: Amount to be appropriated for the total cost of funding Pre-K-8 - $2,249,081; Amount of the Town’s contribution to the total cost of funding Pre-K-8 education - $1,098,624 recommended by School and Town Budget committees. The Town’s contribution is set by state law as the minimum a municipality must raise in order to receive the full amount of state dollars.

    Article 13: Additional local funds - School Committee recommends - $1,086,583 - Town Budget Committee recommends $1,069,947.

    The School Committee explained its reasons for exceeding the amount of local contribution required by State law in order to receive the full amount of state dollars as follows. “The essential programs and services funding model does not recognize all educational costs, such as special education, extra-curricular and co-curricular costs.”

    Recommendations on Articles 14 through 17:

    14. Summarizes expending $3,482,883 on the 2023-24 school budget. School Committee recommends a yes vote; Town Budget Committee recommends a no vote.

    15. Authorize expenditure of grants and other funds as long as such grants do not require expenditures of other funds not previously appropriated. School and Town Budget committees, yes.

    16. Establish a Facilities Reserve Fund for maintenance and upkeep of Hope Elementary School. School Committee, yes; Town Budget Committee, no.

    17. Shall the Town authorize the School Committee to transfer amounts greater than 5 percent between budget cost centers in the FY2021-22 HES Budget and appropriate $35,483 from the unassigned fund balance to cover the FY 2021-22 overdraft in the Facilities Maintenance Cost Center. School and Budget committees recommend a yes vote.