Warrant Message

The initial School Department proposed FY’18 Operating Budget reflected a “level-services” approach, with attention to enrollment increases, the reality of changing student demographics and associated necessary services, facilities needs, and resources to meet DESE requirements and other legislative mandates. The recommended budget will fund contractual obligations, an allowance for collective bargaining, anticipated market increases for goods and services, and projected costs for maintaining existing programs and services included in the base budget.

Several level-services proposals and additional requests were recommended for School Committee consideration but are not included in the FY’18 budget. Due to growing enrollment in the High School, items included an upgrade of the post-secondary tutor to a guidance counselor and increased time for a Chinese teacher. At the Middle School, additions to cover enrollment included a guidance counselor and additional time for an art teacher. At the elementary level, there is a need for additional math tutor hours. Due to the Town’s tight revenue picture, these resources cannot be funded at this time. Further consideration of these items will be deferred to the FY’19 budget. As in the past, the School Committee and School Department have continued to advocate for school funding that allows for continued educational improvements while representing a reasonable balance between achieving the Town’s long term financial objectives and maintaining important Town services. We acknowledge the collaboration and leadership of the School Administration, the Board of Selectmen, the Advisory Committee and its Education Subcommittee and the Town Administrator.

Town Meeting is asked by the Advisory Committee to approve an appropriation of $49,762,697 to operate the schools for next year, an increase of 4.51% over the FY’17 appropriation. The recommended Capital Budget for the Hingham Public Schools is $850,820, including funds to maintain buildings and replace infrastructure components, to meet technology needs and to replace furnishings and equipment.

The FY’17 School Department budget included funding for the first phase of a two-year adoption process for a new elementary reading program. Fortunately, due to price discounts, grant funding and the use of end-of-year funds, the entire adoption was purchased at a significant discount at the end of FY’16. At the beginning of FY’17 the School Department leased 22 new buses and moved from a full-service lease to a self-service lease at significant savings to the Town. These benefits will carry into FY’18, helping the School Department sustain level services for the 4,385 students over which it has program and/or fiscal responsibility.

While the state’s Circuit Breaker reimbursement offset is anticipated to be greater in FY’18, net special education costs are projected to be up for the same period due to contractual personnel obligations.

Full Day Kindergarten personnel costs will be offset in FY’18 by parent paid tuitions, as has been the case for the past two years. Tuition has been increased by slightly over 2% for the coming year. The state approved, income based sliding tuition scale supports the incremental costs of expanding the previous 2 hour 35 minute offering to the full school day offering.

More detailed information about the proposed budget for FY’18 is available on the HPS website (hinghamschools.com); click on Administration and then select Business Office from the pull down menu.

HINGHAM SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Liza O’Reilly, Chair

Aylene Calnan, Vice Chair

Cynthia Galko, Secretary

Carol M. Falvey

Edward Schreier, D.D.S.

Kay Praschma

Carlos Da Silva

SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

Dorothy Galo, Ph.D.

Source: 2017 Warrant