Monomoy School Officials Seeking 4.7 Percent Budget Increase

Monomoy High School

HARWICH – Monomoy Regional School District officials are seeking a Fiscal Year 2019 budget which would be an increase of 4.7% over the current year.

Superintendent Scott Carpenter recently presented the nearly $40 million budget to Selectmen and Finance Committee members in Harwich.

Carpenter said money in the district has been well spent.

“Our kids are growing on average now 10 percent more per year in math and English than what they were before this district came together,” Carpenter said.

“If you think about 10 percent growth compounded from kindergarten through 12th grade, we are talking over a year’s worth of academic growth that’s now happening in the school district compared to just five years ago.”

Carpenter said 8th grade math is the only area that is not growing above the state average, according to MCAS testing results from 2011 to 2017.

A new math curriculum had been put in place for kindergarten through 7th grade.

“So our hope is that we are going to even see math leapfrog above state average,” he said.

Recent budgets for the school district have been put together based on a strategic plan.

“We have been focused on specific strategic initiatives,” Carpenter said. “We have also been developing our budgets around class sizes that we have been maintaining since the district has come together.”

The district tries to keep elementary classrooms at an average of 18 students and 19 students at middle school.

“But we also want to be sensitive to how this budget fits within the wherewithal of our two towns,” Carpenter said.

The proposed budget, which is based on a three-year enrollment average, has Harwich covering just over 73 percent with Chatham contributing almost 27 percent.

Enrollment figures indicate 64 percent of the students in the district are from Harwich and 23 percent are from Chatham. The remaining 13 percent are school choice students.

The draft budget includes a total assessment of almost $26 million with Chatham contributing just over $9 million. The increases are nearly 4 percent for Harwich and just over 3.5 percent for Chatham.

Projected school choice revenue is $1.35 million compared to $1.25 in expenses.

The district is predicting level enrollment and the budget will remain level staffed.

A $50,000 stabilization fund is being sought which would allow the district to reserve funds for unanticipated projects.

Other factors resulting in the increase include transportation, contracts, health insurance and property insurance.

Selectmen raised questions about tuition out costs for charter schools and the cost of Chromebooks for elementary students.

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