Carpenter: FY14 No Override Budget Doesn't Work
The Lincoln-Sudbury superintendent presented Sudbury's FINCOM with a $26.4M budget at Monday night's meeting; says the school needs more to help restore lost positions.
Scott Carpenter wants what is best for the students of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. And according to the superintendent, that mean working with a bigger budget.
During Monday night's FINCOM meeting at Town Hall, Carpenter advised members the proposed no override budget of $26.7 million doesn't meet the needs of the school, which is expecting an increase in students by more than 50 next year.
This budget doesn't keep up with the 52 additional students coming in next year," he said. "It's not educationally sound."
Carpenter expressed a need for a"partial restore" budget of $27.2 million to help hire 8.66 new full-time equivalent staff. That would equal almost half of the staff the school lost to budget cuts over the past five years.
Without the partial restore, Carpenter said the school's staffing would fall further behind the student population.
Carpenter said the no override would still be able to add 1.75 full-time teaching positions.
"It gets us to a good place," he said. "The difference is we have more than 300 new students in the school (over an 11-year span); 1.75 doesn't really meet those needs."
Carpenter also expressed the desire to restore half a full-time equivalent housemaster position to help with the growing student population.
"Adding a housemaster is for the students," Carpenter said. "We have 542 students for three housemasters. A fourth can get that load down to 400 and make it a more manageable task for students struggling with support."
FINCOM member Bob Stein asked Carpenter about the possibility of teachers working a fifth class instead of the common four, which he said could reduce class sizes by 20 percent.
"It's not a solution," Stein said, "but it's a help."
Carpenter responded by saying sacrificing that extra hour is not worth the change for the teachers.
"There are educational trade-offs," he said, "and I think the system we have in place is something that works for our students."
Carpenter also explained the lack of staffing has affected which courses students are allowed to take. Because of a lack of seats, students are being forced to take classes not high on their list.
"Most students won't get the courses they need," he said. "We're placing students where seats are available and not based on what the students need. This budget won't allow students to pursue options they want. They were getting their first or second choices frequently in 2002. Now they sign up for eight electives and most are getting their fifth through seventh choice."