by Annie Collyer, for the Newton Kingston Taxpayers Association
On November 15, the Sanborn Regional School District Budget Committee joined the School Board to hear plans and spending proposal details from the Administrative leaders of the Elementary and Middle Schools as well as from the Athletic and Technology Departments. Superintendent Ambrose spent over 3 hours reviewing answers to questions about spending that had been posed by members of both boards.
A big theme of the night was that he and his team are looking closely at how money is currently being spent. With only five months in his position, he wishes to make a thorough evaluation over the coming year, and expects to be able to implement some savings even during this fiscal year. A big area Superintendent Ambrose emphasized was the need for more Professional Development monies in the schools. According to the Strategic Plan, it is a goal to make sure all children are literate by 3rd grade. Ambrose said we are scoring well compared to the rest of the state, but to get to the goal, we need more concentration and Professional Development in Kindergarten through 3rd grades. He also pointed out that the High School SAT test scores fall well below a satisfactory level, and Professional Development in the High School is a part of the solution in his opinion.
One critical need in the District is substitute teachers. Anyone interested should get in touch with the Superintendent.
The budget he has proposed is flat spending, according to the directive from the School Board this year to provide both flat and modest spending increase options. The current budget for the District has built-in increases of 2.8% if it were left exactly as it is now. Most of the source of those increases are the teacher and staff contracts, retirement costs, and insurance costs. Superintendent Ambrose is proposing some reductions to match the declining enrollment, as well as other savings he and the Administrative team have identified so far.
On November 30 at 6 PM, both boards will again meet with the Administrative leaders for answers to questions on the High School, facilities and the District as a whole.
The Newton Kingston Taxpayers Association (NKTA) formed almost three years ago, in response to the higher than average costs of education at Sanborn, and concern about educational outcomes for students that fell short of averages in the state. That the Administration is looking into areas for potential savings and into ways to improve student outcomes is gratifying, and NKTA will do all it can to help with these initiatives. To learn more, including the studies NKTA members have done over the past three years, see http://www.NKTA.vpweb.com. Joining NKTA to help support our research and voter education costs $20/family per year.