UPDATED: Hope Elementary School $3.48 million budget approved by voters

Tue, 07/18/2023 - 1:45pm

    HOPE – Voters approved a $3.48 million 2023-24 Hope Elementary School budget at a special Town Meeting July 13. In doing so, they affirmed all spending and revenue recommendations put forth by the Hope Elementary School Committee. Sixty-two voters attended the Town Meeting, according to Town Clerk Pamela Smith.

    Voters had the opportunity to weigh in on each expense category for K-8 including regular education, special education, administration, transportation and more, as well as the amount of revenue to be raised in local taxes. They also approved the establishment of a facilities reserve fund for maintenance and upkeep of the school,

    On the warrant were recommendations from both the School Committee and the Town of Hope Budget Committee. For some articles, the recommendations differed. The Budget Committee recommended a lower amount of spending for certain articles, and also recommended a no vote on the new reserve fund.

    On July 25, a referendum vote will be held on the total budget.

    The vote on the school budget would normally have taken place in May, but was delayed. The delay was 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, according to Hope School Committee Chair Tim Lock.

    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.

    Official results released July 18:

    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 - $146,760

    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. The Town’s contribution amount is set by state law as the minimum a municipality must raise in order to receive the full amount of state education dollars.

    Article 13: Additional local funds - $1,086,583

    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.”

    Article 14. Expending a total of $3,482,883 on the 2023-24 school budget, approved.

    Article 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, approved.

    Article 16. Establish a Facilities Reserve Fund for maintenance and upkeep of Hope Elementary School, approved.

    Article 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, approved.